Monday, February 20, 2017

corleone: the shakespearean godfather | set design

Set designer, Heidi Wilkinson shares her thoughts on set designing for, CORLEONE: THE SHAKESPEAREAN GODFATHER.

When Mindy Parfitt and I sat down to talk about design for the show, we realized that we needed something very simple; part of this was because of budget but primarily it was to help keep the many scene changes moving fluidly. What stood out to us in the story of the Corleone, is despite all of the corruption and violence, there is this unwavering loyalty to family and we wanted to convey that somehow.

I loved the idea of a fresco and using it to create a suggestive family tree. I felt that it would work well with the unique space that Pacific Theatre provides. It worked visually with every location we are in as we follow the story: it gives the sense of Italy, it’s reminiscent of a wall in a restaurant, and it even worked in Vito’s office as, upon research, I discovered that many wealthier Italian families in New York in the 1940’s had frescos or murals on a feature wall in their homes. Making the decision of the family tree actually being an orange tree was our own personal homage to the original movie and the symbolism that the orange played within it. And while I wanted to show the Corleone connection to family, I felt that it was also important to show the ramifications of the men's lifestyle and how it was actually destroying the family. When you look at the two frescos in the theatre space, you will notice that one mural is a full and healthy orange tree while the fresco on the opposing wall depicts the same tree with all of the leaves and oranges having fallen to the ground.

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