The Department of Theatre and Dance is set to put on the musical Big Fish, which will include new technical elements not previously seen in the department.

The show will include flying done by six different cast members, which is the first time that will be done by the department. The cast will start training next week with ZFX, a company provider for flying effects.

“That’s mostly where a lot of our budget is right now,” said Stage Manager Ethan Wintgens. “So that’s like the biggest technical element of the show.”

A new projector was bought by the department. The screen is estimated to be about 18 feet tall and 38 feet wide. Scenic Designer Robert Johnson said it will be used to project videos and images to add to the fantasy/flashback themes in the musical. 

          

“This is the first show where we were able to use high quality images that can project the entire stage with, so that’s a huge part of the scenic design,” said Wintgens. “There’s always going to be an image on the screen.”

The musical is about an estranged son trying to rebuild a relationship with his dying father who'd been telling him exaggerated stories throughout his life. 

The musical is set in Alabama. Director Thom Christopher Warren visited the location where the 2003 film adaptation took place to get inspiration for their set design. Warren said he particularly loved the Spanish moss and planking/boardwalk he saw.

          

Photos taken during the trip were given to Johnson, who then incorporated some of those elements in the paint treatment on the floor. 

This is Warren’s second time directing an Otterbein production. Last year he directed Thoroughly Modern Millie. When deciding what show to have for this semester, Warren said a major factor was deciding which musical would best showcase the flying effects.

“We talked about the normal shows that fly people; Mary Poppins and Peter Pan," said Warren. “We knew that we wanted something that was somewhat family-friendly because of our audience and Big Fish just popped into my head.”

Warren said he is excited about the new equipment being added to the production and recognizes the challenges that the elements may produce. 

“We are the guinea pig for it, so I think you go into it with a learning curve knowing that you will face challenges”, said Warren. “I’m looking forward to being on the other side of it, looking back going ‘Oh that was much easier than I thought.’”

Technical rehearsals will begin next weekend. Opening night is Sept. 20.