Pippa and Kenton contacted me, having worked with me back when we were studying theatre at UBC. Strangely enough, I had been approached about a year ago about designing for the same show but the project didn't pan out, so I had read the script and was already excited about the opportunity to design for it!
(Carolyn's design for Dancing at Lughnasa at UBC)
What is your favourite part about the play as a designer?
One of my favourite parts is the transitions - each scene takes place years apart and portrays different injuries, which means the characters have to become younger and older and damaged in different ways right in front of the audience. I wanted to bring visual focus to this in the set design. I was inspired by the feel of the script to find a bold, stylized motif that would also facilitate the action of the play. I started playing around with the look of weaving cotton tape because I liked the visual suggestion of bandages or even playground netting. Weaving this material together became a simple and direct way to bring visual focus to how the two characters' lives intertwine.
(An early sketch of her GRUESOME set design)
What is the biggest challenge this play presents as a designer?
My favourite parts of plays are also often the most challenging. The transitions present a logistical challenge in that each scene takes place in a different location and that the audience must sit through each transition. My goal is to make the transitions seamless and visually interesting while remaining part of the entire set composition.
If you could describe the play in three words, what would you use?
Intimate, bold, quirky
See more of her designs here.
Check out more about GRUESOME PLAYGROUND INJURIES and the rest of our summer series here!