Wednesday, August 15


I think I've mentioned that I'm designing a set for a Fringe Festival show. For the most part it's been going very well.

My set is very simple: furniture and a large cloth on the floor that defines the stage. Simple, but not easy. I bought a large drop cloth from a paint store and intended to paint it.

Hitch #1: I thought I had the right color paint at home, but it turned out to be a different (browner) color. I tried mixing it with other paints, but just ended up with brown goop. Hitch #2: I woke up early on Monday and bought the right paint, but a gallon wasn't enough and I was left with large white patches on the drop. Which I needed to have in the theater on Monday afternoon. Hitch #3: The drop looked terrible in the theater. It was wrinkly and creased, even though we tried to stretch it and tape it down. We talked about cutting it, but the general consensus was that it was doing more good than bad. So I had to brainstorm to make it work.

And so we come to today: last night I finished painting the patches and then I got up really early and put some texture on it, so the wrinkles won't look so out of place (it was a flat yellow before). Hitch #4: I can't tell how it will look. It's on my living room floor and I think it is done, but it will look different under stage lights and I'm having a hard time figuring whether that will be a good thing or a bad thing. Unfortunately I won't be able to tell before the performance tonight, so it better look good the way it is now.

What a weird profession, right? A few years ago I told my cousin, who was at that time a captain in the Special Forces, that I was going to grad school for set design. He was like, "What?? People do that for a living? Don't you just paint something and throw it in the back of a truck?" And I kind of feel like he's right: if you look at this profession from a logical point of view, it makes no sense. A career in theater is sort of like a career in philosophy or something. Really abstract. And perhaps not so useful.

P.S. The last-minuteness of this project is not at all normal for theater, and it is not my fault. This is a Fringe show, which has certain constraints. And I was also hired about a week and a half ago, so I had to throw something together very quickly.


Anonymous said...

Wait! Was that captain in the SF a redhead? And/Or my brother?! Please erase that comment from your memory. You know we routinely ignore what he says anyway! You are a fabulous set designer and he is just jealous that he can't tell you what primary colors are. xo, ctb

Eliza said...

Ha! Yes, it was him. I am not offended. I mean, what I do is weird and I don't expect 80% of the population to understand it, which is my point. I design spaces for people who exist only in our imaginations!

Anonymous said...

Yes, but you were speaking to a man who built an elevator in a treehouse. He's just jealous of you!