‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ set to fly through Pagosa Springs June 29-July 2

Photo courtesy Curtains Up Pagosa The “Enchanted Rose” special effect from “Beauty and the Beast,” presented by Pagosa Springs High School earlier this year. This summer’s Curtains Up Pagosa production of the classic “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” will also feature noteworthy lighting and special effects.

Curtains Up Pagosa

Mark your calendar for one of four performances of Ian Fleming’s “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” one of the most beloved family musicals of all time. Brought to you by Curtains Up Pagosa, our community theater group where our kids and adult residents come together several times a year to entertain the community, learn theater skills and even earn college scholarships. 

 You may have seen the 1968 film starring Dick Van Dyke and Sally Ann Howes, but you’ve probably never seen the Broadway musical version, launched in 2005. Well, now you can, right here at Pagosa Springs High School June 29 to July 2. 

 Our resourceful artistic director, Dale Scrivener, found another theater company that had the flying Chitty car and drove it by truck all the way from Ontario, Canada, to Pagosa Springs. It flies, it levitates, it honks, it’s ah-mazing.

Additional props and sets were also obtained from this company. But, what really sets off the scenes in a theater production? The lighting. We are extremely fortunate to have Aaron Bishop, a highly trained and experienced theater professional, on our team to create not only the lighting but other special effects as well.

In Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” just produced by Pagosa Springs High School under the direction of Scrivener with lighting and special effects by Bishop, there were many enhancements that really added to the story.

“Lighting tells the story as effectively as the lines the characters speak,” Bishop said. “In ‘Beauty,’ Belle was lit with blue light, the Beast with red light. As the story progressed and their love grew, the lighting on both characters became purple.” 

Lighting also enhances the costumes. Costumes for “Chitty” will be created by Nanette Cheffers, who has provided the costumes for most of Curtains Up Pagosa’s and Pagosa Springs High School’s productions in the past several years. 

“I make sure that the lighting is also timed to the music,” Bishop explained. “There were many moments in ‘Beauty’ as well as ‘The Addams Family’ last fall where the timing was critical to the drama of a scene.”

Projection of images is a newer theatrical technique where Bishop is proficient. The “Enchanted Rose” that had falling petals in “Beauty” was an illusion created by projection of the image and remotely controlled. 

In “Addams,” Bishop did projection mapping of the entire stage, and put it into a computer with CAD processing so that specific projections would show up on stage exactly when and where they were needed during the story. Lightning had to strike Gomez at a precise moment, and that spider had to crawl up the curtain just as the show began. 

 In “Chitty,” the special car is 6 feet wide, 14 feet long, has lighting inside and out, and wheels that flip up so it can float on water and fly in the sky. 

“Special effects and lighting make the unbelievable believable,” said Bishop, “transporting the viewer into another imaginative world.”

“Chitty” will be performed at Pagosa Springs High School on June 29, June 30 and July 1 at 7 p.m., and on July 2 at 2 p.m. You can buy tickets online at https://our.show/chitty23 or before each performance.