Theoretical Scenic Design

This design for Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream was the final project for my Fall 2020 Scenic Design class. There were no stipulations of budget or concept. The only stipulation is that we plan and model two distinct locations to represent the forest and the city.

My concept was that the four young lovers run away to a women's commune in the forest to escape their homophobic southern town. Through my research I found several women's communes located in the deep south, which were mostly active in the late 80s and early 90s, so I chose this as my time period. I chose this topic because I wanted something modern and relevant to motivate the families' disapproval of these marriages, but I also wanted to stay rooted in something that felt historically accurate to the LGBTQ+ community. Overall I think that walking through the iterations of this piece was really vital to me in finding my style.

Here is a sampling of the research imagery I pulled to support and inform my design decisions. I pulled pictures from both historical and modern lesbian separatist camps. I also looked into art made through a program where visual artists do a residency in the national parks to do plein air studies and create art of the parks. There was also a specific type of southern suburb that I wanted to capture so I put in some time to find what that looked like as well.

Here are the intitial computer renderings of the set. I composed these by drawing the basic shapes of what I wanted the set to be in Vectorworks, and laying everything out in a way that fit the space. Then I published the renderings into Photoshop to add color, details, and the intended projections.

Based on my rendering I built a 1/4":1' scale model of the set. The materials I used were wood, sticks, heavyweight paper, foamcore, matboard, and Sculpey clay.

Based on the feedback I received, I adapted the model and the design. I changed the tree tormentors meant to be used as masking into printed or projected masking borders. I also inlaid the three dimensional porch into the midstage traveler, and got rid of the initial suburb collage to reduce visual noise. The other major change is that I updated the design to have two distinct looks for night and day.