How did you get involved with Gruesome Playground Injuries, and Pacific Theatre?
Pippa Johnstone asked me as we were working on The Honest Fishmongers' production of Measure for Measure presented at Pacific Theatre. So I said, sure I'll read it, but I was a bit leery about a co-op/low budget production at this point, but Pippa was a draw, Kenton is charming and [director] Chelsea Haberlin and I had been talking about working together so it had all that.
Then I read it.
And I said yes immediately.
The script is achingly beautiful, as well as dark, fiercely funny, and brutally honest.
(Pippa in Christophers's designs in Measure for Measure.)
What is your favourite part of Gruesome Playground Injuries as a designer?
Can't pick just one - I guess "the team", the actors are great, Chelsea is beautifully focused, and is open to discussion, nurturing of creativity, and Carolyn Rapanos's set design is in and of itself gorgeous, simple, evocative, and will integrate the costumes (hooray!).
But wait - the script is fantastic. Truly.
In fact it's one of the few scripts I've read that I just got immediately, on a really deep level, and my admiration for the clean, spare writing just grows and grows.
What are the specific challenges of working on Gruesome Playground Injuries?
Well, there are lots of time shifts as it covers 30 years, and it has been decided that it all needs to happen onstage, but in essence we (and especially Chelsea) have turned that into a plus. It does have to happen onstage, it makes sense, and it helps the design. So we limited the palette, and came up with a simple idea that I think will be effective AND theatrical. And it turns out the injuries which look crazy difficult at the beginning seem not so wild once you are into it (additionally make-up/blood products are fantastic and very user friendly today.)
If you had to pick one year for clothing between 1984 and 2014, which styles or trends would you pick & why?
As a designer while there are things I like and dislike in fashion/styles of every time but I don't like to pick a favourite time/era, I think it can end up limiting you either consciously or unconsciously.
For this play we are less concerned with period, there is a bit of timelessness we are aiming for, as the pieces need to be interchangeable for the show.
Unrelated to the show I do have a huge fondness for Cyndi Lauper's taste as it's developed, she's always been able to grab the key elements in any period and make them her own. I like that, taking the current and making it personal. I dislike the tendency to judge a period you didn't live through. Of course it looks weird to you!
If you could describe the play in three words what would you use?
Honest, Pithy, Bittersweet.
There you have it folks. Come see this genius' designs in action at GRUESOME PLAYGROUND INJURIES here at Pacific Theatre running July 3-12th.
Find more info about the show, and the rest of our summer series here.