What was your inspiration for the set?
I was inspired on two fronts: the first were famous TV homes like the Kardashians’ mansion, ‘The Bachelor mansion’ and the Property Brothers’ house in Las Vegas – I knew I wanted it to look expensive, but also have a little cookie cutter McMansion feel to it. The second was a desire to evoke the architecture of the White House so when the play takes a big turn towards politics, there it would be looming in the background.
Why a pool? Was that an idea you had for the design or did the idea come from the adapted script?
TARTUFFE traditionally takes place in a foyer and a dining room; a place for comings and goings. We wanted grandeur, plenty of light (it is a comedy after all), and lots of entrances. Stephanie Gularte had a few inspiration images that she kept coming back to with water in them. It was my idea to take this show and set in an amazing backyard (and what McMansion doesn’t have a pool?). As soon at that was settled we instantly knew the famous table scene would need to take place underwater!
Also, WOW, how did you pull it off and keep it going through a four week run?
When it comes to the logistics of having over 700 gallons of water on stage we were fortunate enough to have an experienced team at American Stage. In our old building we had produced METAMORPHOSIS, so the team, lead by our Technical Director Timon Brown, had experience building a contained water feature on stage. There is a lot more than just plopping a kiddie pool on stage that goes into it for sure! Our water has to be heated to keep the actors comfortable as well as chemically treated and tested for safety. On top of all that, I wanted it to look as elegant and authentic as possible.
What is your favorite feature and/or most difficult challenge in regard to the set?
My favorite feature would have to be the pool. In the first 60 … Read the rest