Monday, April 14, 2014

Art of Set Design

Posted By on Mon, Apr 14, 2014 at 6:00 AM

The set design of a play is a fascinating thing. I've often found myself sitting in the audience wondering how they dreamed up the details of this imaginary world and made it happen. The richly designed sets of two recent shows, Other Desert Cities at the Indiana Repertory Theatre and North of the Boulevard at Phoenix Theater, have sparked my interest in the designers imagining specific places and bringing them into existence for just a few weeks' time. I have included photos from those productions and a few others of my favorite sets from recent years. Take note of the set designers, these are artists whose work is worth seeking out just as much as the ones hanging in galleries.

  • James Still and Zach Rosing

Other Desert Cities at Indiana Repertory Theatre | Set Design by Anne Sheffield

My immediate reaction to viewing the mid-century modern inspired Palm Springs set was that I wanted to skip the play and move in. While the set had many elegant details, it managed to balance contemporary style with old Hollywood charm. The wading pool on the edge of the stage and the mountains rising above added depth and details, making it clear this was Palm Springs. Anne Sheffield is professor of set design at California State University, Fullerton and has designed more than 10 sets for the IRT.

  • Scot McKim

The Theban Plays by NoExit Performance | Set direction by Georgeanna Smith, Michael Burke and Michael Bachman.

NoExit Performance doesn't just build sets, it finds the perfect environment for the plays. Setting the Greek trilogy of the Theban Plays in the Indianapolis Museum of Art gardens was an inspired idea that led to a breathtaking, all-encompassing theatrical experience. The directors chose picturesque spots for each scene as the audience moved around with the play. The perfectly timed sunsets added to the beauty and the spring showers added to the tragedy. You can see the artistry of Director Michael Burke in the NoExit current production of Middletown at Indie Indy Artist Colony.

  • Zach Rosing

Into the Woods at Civic Theatre | Set Design By Robert Koharchik

When staging Into The Wood, a musical full of fairy-tale characters, a magical set is a requisite. Rob Koharchik's rotating set weaved us through the beautifully lit woods and into storybook perfect homes. Ryan Koharchik is the resident designer at Civic Theatre whose next show promises a large-scale production of Les Misérables.

  • Zach Rosing

North of the Boulevard at Phoenix Theatre | Set Design by James Gross

North of the Boulevard's lived-in looking auto-garage (including a car on stage and low-hanging fluorescent lights) filled in details of the characters' lives beyond the spoken words, while perfectly symbolizing the run-down Philadelphia neighborhood in which it takes place. James Gross has been responsible for many memorable set designs for more than a decade at Phoenix Theatre, as well as being professor of theatre at Wabash College.

  • Zach Rosing

Rent at Footlite Musicals | Set Design by Ryan Mullins

From the gritty alleyway set design to the gorgeous lighting, no technical detail was left undone in this production of the popular NYC-set musical Rent. There was clear evidence of fans of the show eager to do it justice and blow away expectations of community theatre. Beyond set and lighting design at Footlite Musicals, Ryan Mullins is also Technical Director for NoExit Performance. 

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Speaking of...

  • The Show Must Go On

    Performers share their tips to avert disaster on stage and on the road, whether due to technical difficulties or impromptu illnesses.
    • Feb 16, 2016
  • In Praise of Stage Fright

    Killer Joe premieres at Theatre on the Square this Friday, and Lori Raffel will direct the grisly and twisted must-see play.
    • Feb 15, 2016
  • Best of the Rest: Jan. 22, 2016

    Take a look at the other arts and entertainment stories that made news in and around Indy this week.
    • Jan 22, 2016
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Well-Endowed Artists

    Jennifer draws Seinfeld-esque parallels to artists' financial challenges with education, but offers easy ways to help.
    • Mar 2, 2016
  • Positive Impressions

    Ben chats with IMA’s artist-in-residence about introducing the process of woodblock printmaking to the masses.
    • Jan 10, 2016

About The Author

Justin Brady

Justin Brady

Justin Brady is a nonprofit marketing and fundraising consultant with a passion for the arts. Justin got his start in Indy working with IndyFringe and now seeks out local theatre, film, and dance at every opportunity. He geeks out listening to pop culture podcasts and has an endless Netflix queue.

More by Justin Brady

  • Costume Inspirations

    Justin offers up Halloween costume suggestions inspired by local theatrical productions' wardrobes.
    • Oct 27, 2014
  • Offbeat & Odd

    To seek theater with a side of adventure, Justin recommends veering off the beaten path to find these quirky, one-of-a-kind performances.
    • Oct 13, 2014
  • Theater at the Movies

    Justin provides a rich lineup of NYC and London theatrical productions we'll be able to catch at several of the local cineplexes this fall.
    • Sep 29, 2014
  • More »

Latest in Sky Blue Blog

  • The Nice Things

    Ben has enjoyed his opportunity to give notice to some of Indy’s 'nice things' with Sky Blue Window readers. He hopes you’ll find and share them too.
    • Mar 9, 2016
  • A Gray Sky-onara

    Dan looks back at some of his most memorable blogs at Sky Blue Window.
    • Mar 8, 2016
  • Well-Endowed Artists

    Jennifer draws Seinfeld-esque parallels to artists' financial challenges with education, but offers easy ways to help.
    • Mar 2, 2016
  • More »
© 2017 CICF
Privacy Policy
Contact Us:
P: 317.634.2423   F: 317.684.0943
Central Indiana Community Foundation
615 N. Alabama St. #119
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204-1431
Sky Blue Window is presented by:

Website powered by Foundation