February 11, 2009

Designing punk tornado

Our design team has quite a job on their hands. Of the two plays in our spring rep, one is a 17th century Jacobean tragedy, and one is its 20th century American counterpart.

For director Rachel Walshe, The Changeling tells a story of conflict between generations, of control and rebellion. So, quickly, design inspiration turned to the punk movement.

For me, fleshing out the world of Tallgrass Gothic has lead me from its setting in the Great Plains out to Southern Gothic (Flannery O'Connor and Jean Toomer), to rural ghost stories, to Appalachian religion, to fantastic American Roots music, to unusual prairie habits. While none of these explorations may be visible to the audience, they feed our thinking as we create this world together.

Meanwhile, the physical space of the theatre has to speak to and transform into both plays. We began with church-plus-barn:

and then came here:

Something, though, still lingers just beyond reach....

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