Building the set of The Seafarer

April 29, 2009

Glenn Perlman, Technical Director at the Arden, discusses the challenging set of The Seafarer.

The setting for The Seafarer is a lower-level living room in Ireland, with actors entering from the second floor above. Veteran scenic designer David Gordon has cracked this design challenge by very cleverly integrating a suggested ceiling that comes out over the thrust playing space, indicated by a broken away section of floor boards and ceiling panels above and below large wooden beams. These beams run the entire length of the stage at about 14 feet above the floor, approximately half the height of the cavernous Haas stage.

Lighting designer John Hoey then called for the creation of a gridwork of steel pipes – affectionately named the “Mega-Grid” – to be installed a few feet above these beams, so as to be able to shoot lights between the beams without casting large, unnatural shadows on the stage.

So the Arden’s production staff engineered, created, and installed this new grid two feet above the set, about seven feet below the existing catwalks, in order to light this uniquely designed set. This visual compression of the height of the Haas should create the feeling of the dank, underground environment where the play takes place.

The Seafarer is on stage at the Arden May 14 – June 14.

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