The Judgment Room

By Paul Weddle

Room Description:
The room is decorated simply with a faux column and 2 walls are clad in Painter’s Canvas drop cloths. The column is wrapped with pine garland and stands in front of the accordion folding wall. The folds in the drop cloths were left for texturing effect. There was a plan to use chalk to highlight some of the lines to create a brick façade, but the need to do so went away when the lighting and other effects were added. Along the ceiling are gathered Red Tablecloths tied with gold cords. There is a chair, a small Marble Table with a water basin, and perhaps parchment papers. Floor lamps in the corners (four) provided lighting.

Traffic flowed in to the first Nursery room section (Rm 51) for  the “Judgment Room”, and out around the retracted folding wall, through the to the second nursery door (Rm 50) into the hallway. This was facilitated by a black board draped with cloth pushed up against the column and the nursery cabinet placed as a guiding obstacle. The cabinet was topped with a red cloth and a display of fruits and nuts in bowls, platters and a gold “charger” plate. Battery powered candles cast a dim glow on the fare.

What worked:
The room decorations of Canvas and the Scalloped Table Cloths (Red with Gold) worked great with the floor lighting eliminating the need to do a lot of drawing to mimic brickwork. The golden chair covering, the tall vase (Kiki’s) with the Peacock feathers, leopard skin ottoman (Kiki’s too), the Turkish rug (ours) and the small table with the water basin lent the room a feeling of opulence. Reciting the script from memory allowed for adjustments to the different types of groups that came through. There were some groups that had no life to them or crying kids that killed any chance for the audience to listen; some that had a majority of young kids who wanted to listen so the presentation was “dumbed down” so they could comprehend and stay interested; and others that you could tell were wanting to “feel a part” of the presentation. A three minute script is not that difficult, we used to do 2 ½ minute talks in the “old days” for Jr Sunday School.

What Didn’t:
Staples in the ceiling held alright, but next year, a frame will be needed (as was suggested but I took the easy route). This can be done easily with some 2 x 1 wood materials and picture frame brackets. This will allow them to be broken down easily for next year and will prevent damage to the ceiling. The staples didn’t do much to the ceiling this year, but year after year….it will get ugly.
The room was too dark at the exit – it made it difficult to negotiate the turn around the folded back wall partition and the table of fruit which hampered the flow of traffic; it created a bottle neck. Another floor lamp or two around the table would work.. There may have been 3 minutes allotted to the script, but the tourstook more time to move through. Pictures next year on the “fruit  table” instead of the food as gawkers tended to linger there. Some fruits, but not like this year.

What Needed Improvement:
Spanish. The guides didn’t have an advance look at the script as we thought they would, nor did they have a copy with them. Friday night
I cut the presentation material in half to allow the Elder’s to translate on the fly but remain somewhat within the three minute
time frame. Saturday, I provided a script that I had to give to a sister to follow along with and, for a second group, the Elder’s
just read it. I should also be familiar with the Spanish script so Pilot could do a little more pantomime rather than just stand there
and dip my hands in the water…3 paragraphs too soon! The Translation, should have been timed too as it was longer, even
without the hesitant reading.

Water bowl – the one we used was my daughters and it had an electric  unit in it with cord that was visible to the presenter. It was a distraction. Next year, something else will have to be used. There will be some minor changes to the script as a couple of parts need to be moved as the order didn’t flow as I had thought. I made
the shift on the fly, but it really confused the poor lady following the script in Spanish Saturday night.
Costs:
Canvas $60
Floor Lamps $20 (We donated these for next year but I shredded the receipt)
Bulbs $11 (We donated these for next year but I shredded the receipt)
Fruits $45 (we won’t do these again next year, fake will be fine!)
Gold ropes $10 (We donated these for next year but I shredded the receipt)
Toga $25
Batteries for Candles $ 4

Thoughts about the rest of the program:
A pre coordinated crew assigned to assist with Friday night’s clean up / reset and Saturday night’s teardown. The volunteers helped, but
without a plan, it was difficult to supervise the volunteers and get the clean up done.

In conclusion, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what possessed whoever it was who thought of my name for this project. I know Maggie was puzzled to the point that she simply drew a blank on ideas which is uncharacteristic of her, but I loved it. It caused a lot of angst as I would miss personal deadlines, but I’m so very happy to have had the opportunity to serve. From the beginning, the ideas for what to do flowed even though they morphed from the original concept.

Thank you. I hope I’m here next year so I can do it again, which is contrary to how I felt when I was stressed out. But, if asked, I’d be happy to do the room again.