A Midsummer Night's Dream

Forest of Athens set

The Long Beach Shakespeare Company 2008
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Forest of Athens set Palace set Palace scene mechanicals forest scene forest scene Puck on his perch

This is such a wonderful show because it has so many magical possibilities. The one aspect I knew I wanted to implement right away was a scenic transformation; I didn’t want to use a unit set that represented both the palace scenes and the forest scenes - this posses a problem in this space, though, because it is small, and one thing I did not want was a clunky scene change. So, what ended up happening was the creation of a sort of boxed in palace location, which then transformed into the much more open forest scene - all choreographed and executed by use of Puck and the fairies, as sort of a magical in-show change, instead of the more common scene change where you try to mask it from the audience. As mentioned, the Palace scenes were designed to be sort of a constricting space, which really made the forest seem more expansive, despite the fact that there was really only slightly more playing area. The palace decor was taken from Greek architecture - complete with painting of Theseus vs. the Minotaur - and then finished off with blue curtaining (blue being the color the director wanted for the palace costumes and so forth). Then the whole thing opened up to reveal a forest of purple, brown, and gold trees; wild green floors; three openings in the floor Puck and the Fairies could use to enter and exit; and a star field and moon; to name some elements... I chose to design the trees in a 2D fashion (instead of, say, molding styrofoam trees) because I thought it would add to the whole dream and “not quite right” feel of the place - that, accented by the coloring, and the lighting, and the staging really created the atmosphere we were going for. For lighting, it was pretty basic, but effective. The Palace scenes were bright and warm, and a bit stark; where the forest was very blue (but not dark) and cool, but with a softness that contrasted nicely to the sharp palace lighting. Overall I was very happy with the outcome of this design, it resulted in a mood and atmosphere that really supported that which the production was aiming for.