The production demanded a scenic design that facilitated speed, comic timing and surprise comparable to the farces of Goldoni, Feydeau or, in the English manner, Joe Orton.
I formed the footprint of the space by mapping out distances between scenic elements and incorporating Shakespeare’s Globe’s three-door template with a central upstage balcony. The design had to be flexible and transparent enough, however, to allow the viewer to see the ensemble’s choral action when on margins of the action. I experimented with perforated metal shuttered walls and concealed doors that, when used with precise lighting angles, gave flexibility to the possibilities of performers seeing from off stage and being seen by the audience. Framed with festoons of faulty coloured bulbs, the scenic elements hinted at a contemporary shopping mall – apt for a story revolving around commodities and mistaken identities in public spaces.
The costume design drew on 1980’s and 90’s iconography and nodded at an era that tended to turn a blind eye to misogyny and household violence, and saw a proliferation of cheap holiday destinations where revellers could reinvent their identities. Rather than starting the rehearsal process with my previously conceived drawings, fully collaborated with the actors on their ‘look’ by trading costume ideas and then created the designs using digital compositing [a design methodology polar opposite to that of, say, Jenny Tiramani and the original practices of Shakespeare’s Globe]. I then exaggerated sartorial images of gender, status and sexual prowess to compliment the performer’s heightened characterisation and physicality. The design schematic was finally given an overarching aesthetic cohesion, using colour e.g. the bottom halves bodies were clothed in varying shades of blue/green to suggest the shifting sea that surrounded Shakespeare’s Ephesus.
Theatre Awards UK for Best Touring production
Boston’s Elliot Norton Award for Best Visiting Production
Boston IRNE Award
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