Q: How did you get interested in Theatre Lighting & Design?
A: I started working in Theatre when I was in high school, my first ever production was Dracula, which was full of smoke, rigged bats, trap doors and oceans of stage blood… I’ve been hooked ever since!
Q: Is it easier to do both lighting and set design as you are on this production – or is it better to have another designer to bounce ideas off of?
A: It really depends on the production. Certain shows are well suited for doing both, like this one, where everything happens in the same room. The possibility of four designers for the two one-acts was discussed, but I argued for just one so the design would have a greater continuity and focus. With other larger shows that have more location shifts/design demands its definitely better to have more than one designer to share the work load with!
Q: What’s the role of an outstanding design – to serve the action of the play? To develop the plays themes & help the audience understand the play? Or, something else?
A: All of the above! I see a set design as the creation of a giant, functional, living sculpture, it’s a piece of art all unto itself, and the action is almost just another piece of the sculpture. The purpose of design is to create an environment for the story, to aid the action visually and ground it physically. I’m also interested in visual dramaturgy, so I always look for ways to express the text visually in both the set and lights.
Q: What style of stage is your ideal to design for? Why?
A: Personally I don’t have an ideal stage to design for. Each play or event is individual and requires different things of the space from seating capacity to stage style. In turn, every space has its own requirements and challenges. I really love going in to different or unusual spaces and trying new things, experimenting, but it’s also just as rewarding to successfully stage something in a more traditional space.
Q: How long did it take you from the time you began researching to when you finished the set design?
A: I first read the plays and turned in my preliminary drawings around the end of last spring, but I’ve also been working on a lot of other projects, so I’ve been working on it on and off since then. It was around October when I really focused all my attention on designing this show.
Q: What do you find thought provoking, exciting or intriguing about these plays?
A: There’s so much…Where do I start?! The plays are very interesting in that they really delve into modernity, humanity and morality. They force us to become introspective, to critically evaluate the systems that function around us, to question the future of our children, to ask ourselves what civilization means. I think they both seek to expose some of the conundrums and hypocrisy of suburban life and the nuclear family and make us think about how far we would really go for our values, or how far would we fall before we snap!
Check out the show site for more insight into our creative team’s processes: Problem Child & The End of Civilization
Problem Child and The End of Civilization by George F. Walker | Directed by MFA Directing student Chris Robson | February 9 – 18, 2012 7:30pm $7 Preview Feb. 8 | Venue: Telus Studio Theatre, Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, UBC | Post-Show Talkback Feb. 13 | Tickets: $22/$15/$10 http://ubctheatre.universitytickets.com