scene design


scene-thumb-1

As You Like It

University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
directed by Bill Watson
lighting design by Steve White

As You Like It
The challenge in As You Like It is to create a set that expresses the transformative wonder of the forest environment. Using the very ordinary materials of plastic sheeting, corrugated plastic and vinyl screens, I made an environment that is activated by color and light, accommodating scene and mood changes without having to move a lot of scenery.
The Director asked me if we could put words in the air. I loved this idea, it adds layers of texture–“text”ure – ha ha

see the detail images»


scene-thumb-2

The Phantom of the Opera

St. Patrick High School, Chicago, IL
directed by Goeffrey Arndt
lighting design by John Sanchez

The Phantom of the Opera
The Phantom of the Opera is all about scale. How can you express the hugeness of the Paris Opera House and its surroundings on a smallish thrust stage at a high school with limited resources? We took a very few elements: a pattern cut-out backdrop, a fragment of the chandelier, a sculpted piece of proscenium decoration, and rendered them as large as we could. We left the rest of the stage bare except for some step units and two cage-like units that worked in different ways together.

see the detail images»


scene-thumb-3

Macbeth

City Lit Theatre, Chicago, IL
directed by Susan Hart
lighting design by Sean Mallory

Macbeth
Macbeth is essentially trapped in his own soul. I wanted to activate every scene on our small stage by creating “walls” that were like living things, like some kind of skin. They were illuminated from outside and inside, and had all kinds of texture. Again, a small number of furniture/step units with multiple functions.

see the detail images»


scene-thumb-4

Amahl and the Night Visitors

produced by Ars Viva
directed by Harold Bauer at the North Shore Center for the Arts
musical direction by Alan Heatherington
lighting design by Jared B. Moore

Amahl and the Night Visitors
For this family-friendly opera I was asked to write notes on my design for the program. Here’s what I wrote:
Hoping to set the scene for an experience of wonder and gratitude, two primary issues emerged in thinking about designing this story. First, we wanted to evoke the harsh beauty of the Middle Eastern landscape that surrounds Amahl and his mother. This involved simplifying and unifying everything on the ground, keeping the shapes, colors and textures natural and graceful. Second, while we realize that nothing we put on stage can rival what is given to us every night outside, we needed to create a starry sky that seemed tactile and magical and awesome all at once. We filled the space with glowing shapes and rhythmic patterns, so that the stars themselves are a visual response to the poetry of Amahl’s adventure.

see the detail images»


scene-thumb-5

Home on the Mornin’ Train

Mudlark Theater, Evanston, IL
directed by Amy Eaton
lighting design by April Pilarski

Home on the Mornin’ Train
Mudlark Theater is a great little theater for young people in Evanston, IL, where I was resident designer for several years. Kids in the program act, run crew, run lights, and assist in design, and sometimes write and direct. Home on the Mornin’ Train is a play for children which draws a parallel between Jewish children hiding in an attic during WWII and runaway slave children on the underground railroad. My design is an attic structure which doubles as trees in the forest, with folk-art inspired star-patterned drops. The painting on the “wood” structure lends a lyrical, graceful through-line to the show.

see the detail images»


scene-thumb-6

Evita

Harper College, Pallatine, IL
directed by Kevin Long
lighting design by John Sanchez

Evita
The script tells us: this show is a circus. I made three round platforms like a circus, and added large circus-poster style drops to emphasize different aspects of different “acts” or scenes.

see the detail images»


scene-thumb-7

The Diary of Anne Frank

Harper College, Pallatine, IL
directed by Kevin Long
lighting design by John Sanchez

The Diary of Anne Frank
The house where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis is well documented. I used as much of the style and color of the real house as I could. We built a thrust out over the orchestra pit to get closer to the audience. We put the house in a complete black void, except for some moody projections on the scrim walls in the back of the house. The actors never left the set, even during intermission. The story is sad but very human and personal, and so we tried to make all of our visuals very specific and very ordinary.

see the detail images»