Coe College students design prop for “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”

Extra: Erin Salisbury, Marketing and Public Relations Intern

2011-12-31 10:39:12 - General

“Extreme Makeover” host and designer Ty Pennington (left) with Coe student Keegan Jenney, Coe Theatre Technical Director and Lighting Designer Jonathan Allender-Zivic and Coe student Lorraine Zazzaretti.

Coe student Keegan Jenney, Coe Theatre Technical Director and Lighting Designer Jonathan Allender-Zivic and Coe student Lorraine Zazzaretti are shown with the set they designed and built prior to the filming of a scene for “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”

Eight Coe students built a set used in the “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” episode featuring the Gibbs’ family in West Union, Iowa. The students built the set during the week of Oct. 2, before the taping of the show, which ABC has scheduled to air on Friday, January 6.  Audrey Gibbs, recipient of the new “Extreme Makeover” home, is a widowed mother of six. The new home was revealed to Gibbs and her children on Sunday, Oct. 9.

Coe College Theatre Technical Director and Lighting Designer Jonathan Allender-Zivic received the request for this “Extreme Makeover” project less than 72 hours before it was needed.  With minimal direction from show producers, Allender-Zivic created a rendering of the set design and sent it to the “Extreme Makeover” team. After receiving the go ahead from the show, he recruited eight Coe theatre students to help build the set he had designed. Using Coe theatre supplies and the department scene shop, the students put in about 30 hours of work to finish the set.

The set created was used during the demolition of the Gibbs’ original home.  At the beginning of the episode, the family participated in a mini game show, “The Demo Show,” where they chose from doors numbered 1 through 10. Located behind each door was either a tool that could be used for demolition, such as a large tractor or a souped-up lawn mower, or an object that could not be used, such as a man in a cow costume or a large pig. Timed by “the corn clock” created by the Coe students, the show’s designers had three minutes to locate the objects used for demolition.

After finishing construction of the structure, Allender-Zivic traveled with junior Keegan Jenney and sophomore Lorraine Zazzaretti to assemble the basic framework and make sure everything was working on the “Extreme Makeover” set on the evening of Sunday, Oct. 2. They returned home around 2 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 3, slept for a few hours, and were back to the “Extreme Makeover” set by 6 a.m. that same day.

As the students dedicated time to building this set for the show, they were also opening the theatre department’s first play of the season, “Old Times.” Despite a hectic weekend, Allender-Zivic said the students’ reactions were very positive. According to Allender-Zivic, “The idea that what they were doing was going to be on national television was pretty cool for them, and [they] got to see the difference between live theatre and TV – how the eye works versus the camera.”

The Coe Theatre Arts program is designed to provide a balance between academic and experiential learning for all interested students, and it offers opportunities for student participation in many aspects of theatre. For more information on the Coe College Department of Theatre Arts, please visit