Set Design for Live Performance

Set design in-the-round for Oregon Children’s Theatre’s Production of “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane”.

Set design in-the-round for Oregon Children’s Theatre’s Production of “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane”.

Original design for life-size steel horse for Portland Opera’s “La Cenerentola”.

Fully realized horse, La Cenerentola, Portland Opera Association..

When opera director, David Edwards, wanted to strip this rented set of it’s encumbering elements, he brought me on to design a series of stark, evocative projection images to provide the backdrop to his dramatic staging for this tragic opera. With only a two week turn around, much of which happened during tech week, this was a rigorous timeline for the projection design, but the collaboration was exhilarating, and the results were stunning.

(Description in first slide of “Carmelites”.)

The Good Person of Sichuan – featuring the “god screen” (shown here without it’s shadow screen panel), and a sewer pipe embedded in the stair wall. Carefully embedded additions like these maximize the flexibility and range of the small unit set.

The Good Person of Sichuan was staged in a thrust theatre at Willamette University. The drama demands multiple locations be represented over a short amount of time, and so the challenge was achieving this without impeding the flow of the story. One way I achieved this was by maximizing the possible range of the unit set by borrowing the Shakespearean "inner above, inner below" approach. The "above" also had an intricate translucent screen that tracked in for a shadow pantomime performed by "the gods". Individual locations were defined by specific furnishings and dressing that could rapidly be set up and struck to keep the story moving along.

This production of True West was set in the developing “exurbs” that pushed against the arid foothills outside L.A. The design placed the open floor plan of a small ranch house smack down in the scrubby desert-lands.

True West – A main design feature of this set was the translucent drop that displayed the diminishing foothills fading into the smog. Translucent drops provide a range scenic and lighting possibilities, as shown here. I painted this drop on the stage floor over many long days (see previous photo). We were even able to wire miniature street lights and flashing red transmitter tower lights into the drop once it was hung.

Description

This is just a smattering of set designs from over the years.