WHAT HAS FED AND FORMED DESIGN IDEAS
Set Designer Patrick Howe, together with Director Lawrie Cullen-Tait, did a fantastic job of bringing the play Venus in Fur to life. His minimalist set conveyed multiple worlds, a claustrophobic atmosphere and a voyeuristic feeling. Hear from Patrick about the nspiration and choices that affected how the design came to be:
The design process for this production has taken the design of the set to many shapes and forms. However, the main ideas that fed and formed the design for this show probably stems from both Lawrie and Is initial response to the play.
During the process of creating the design of the show there where two major angles Lawrie and I looked at in order to create the world for this show. The first angle we looked at was how we would create theatrical framing (a non-physical theatre construct that allows the audience into the story or sets up there perspective of the show) of the play. To do this during Lawrie and Is first meeting we both discussed what our initial response to the play was. It was here in which we first discussed out how we would set up the theatrical framing of this show. We both discussed that part of the enjoyment of reading this play was that, the act of reading, felt a bit voyeuristic. It allowed you to see into a world that is highly sexual and one that most of us would not normally see or experience. Building on this response, Lawrie and I sourced for ways in which we could replicate this response for the audience when watching the play. In order to do this we both decided that it would be good idea to set the world up as if audiences perspective is that one of a fly on the wall. Hopefully they would feel as if they had a unique vantage point of this story that they would normally not see.
The other major angle we looked at during the creation of the set where the worlds represented in the play and physical needs of the script. The play is set in an old rehearsal room in New York that was once part of an old sweat shop with a giant pole running through the middle of the room. Throughout the play we travel three different worlds. 1. the New York rehearsal room, 2. the Bohemian 1800s Eastern European and 3. the Greek, the Goddess element. Along with the setting having to support all of these three worlds, we also had to allow for Lighting and Sound and effortless transition between these worlds as called for in the script. To do this both Lawrie and I firstly started to look at different images that references rehearsal spaces in New York and all over the world, just to build a basic skeleton of the physical world of the rehearsal room. From that, we started looking at mood boards (collection of images) that represented the feeling and the mood of the other worlds we wish to visit. The trick here was to find a way of how we could take the space from one world to another. To do this we built on the construct that in the theatre the power of imagination, with a little help, can take us to worlds completely removed from the space of the theatre. The little help we did give, was we integrated into the architecture of the space and texture and colour of the space elements of the other two worlds Bohemian and Greek. Hoping this will allow the audiences imagination a smoother transition from one world to another as happens in the play.
Don't miss Venus in Fur at the Studio Underground, State Theatre Centre of WA until 8 February 2015. Tickets on sale through Ticketek.