Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Great Globe Itself: Set Design

Scale model: Terry Martin
This is a play about a building. The play is named after a building, the phrase The Great Globe Itself is from The Tempest, as Prospero describes how all things must eventually end, how life is merely an illusion.

"We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep."
Indeed. The entire play takes place in our around one of three Globe Theatres. In our first meeting, scenic designer Terry Martin and I discussed how literal this set should be. We agreed what we did not want was for it to look like anyone's set for The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged).

Not like this.
The word "rendering" was introduced several times, and in fact shortly after our first production meeting, when Todd and I were conceptualizing the production image with the folks at TRG, they themselves chose the word "rendering" to describe the item Arthur's character would be holding in his hand. This idea of the Globe in the form of a ground plan or blueprint had definitely taken shape.

May I offer you a Globe?
We will be rehearsing in a small office downtown, per usual. This is good, because if the set fits into the rehearsal space, then we know we can manage to squeeze it into pretty much any of our locations.

See: "Complete Works" poster in the background.
This has got to be one of the simplest, most elegant, and lightest touring sets we have ever had. And it is ideal, representing the Globe artistically as architecture.

Stage right presents backstage, the Tiring House, the storage in the Heavens, costumes and all that.

Stage left, the galleries, the public area occupied by audience members. Performers in the show refer to the galleries several times, but our work will be performed largely in non-theater spaces with one level of audience, on the floor.

Here we see the foreshortened "Heavens" - the ceiling over the Globe stage. These columns suggest the thrust of the theater's platform stage, but will work in a shallow stage space like that at Lakewood, but also provide a "launching pad" into the audience which will work extremely well at Workshop Players. I am very excited to see how this simply device will work in all of the different spaces, large and small.

Terry drew these designs himself, by hand, and though it is hard to tell from these photographs (because these photographs I took aren't very good) the surface has the patina of parchment. This is his original model, life-size!

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