Title

Behind the “Behind the Scenes” of Avenue Q

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

We all know what happens on stage, and have a vague idea of what must happen behind the scenes, but what really happens behind the creation of the scenery? Designing the set for a theatrical production involves incredible communication, elaborate collaboration, and creative flair. This past year, I served as the scenic designer for the School of Theatre and Dance’s production of Avenue Q. Avenue Q is best described as “Sesame Street for adults,” featuring human and puppet actors who, through song and dance, teach the audience lessons about life after college, the internet, and love. Through regular attendance at design and production meetings with the production team, my design concept became the idea of three-dimensionality popping from two-dimensionality. Based on initial meetings with the director, I researched the artistic and storytelling styles of variety shows and cartoons, such as “Laugh In,” “Sesame Street” and “The Pink Panther,” examining what these forms of entertainment have in common. After cementing the design concept through staging discussions with the director and pages of sketches, I drafted the show in AutoCAD, built a ¼” scale model, and painted color elevations for all surfaces of the set. Finally, I attended the technical and dress rehearsals, fine tuning the scenic elements. Avenue Q opened October 1, 2013 and had very positive feedback, offering a hilarious escape for audiences. Designing this set was a great educational experience, not only for myself, but all students involved in the Design/Technology program since it gave them the opportunity to expand their technical skills as they constructed the set and worked backstage. Through this presentation, I hope that those who did not assist in the creation of Avenue Q will gain insight into the process and appreciate all aspects of design that take place behind the “behind the scenes.”

Category

Visual and Performing Arts (including Creative Writing)

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Apr 11th, 3:00 PM Apr 11th, 3:20 PM

Behind the “Behind the Scenes” of Avenue Q

We all know what happens on stage, and have a vague idea of what must happen behind the scenes, but what really happens behind the creation of the scenery? Designing the set for a theatrical production involves incredible communication, elaborate collaboration, and creative flair. This past year, I served as the scenic designer for the School of Theatre and Dance’s production of Avenue Q. Avenue Q is best described as “Sesame Street for adults,” featuring human and puppet actors who, through song and dance, teach the audience lessons about life after college, the internet, and love. Through regular attendance at design and production meetings with the production team, my design concept became the idea of three-dimensionality popping from two-dimensionality. Based on initial meetings with the director, I researched the artistic and storytelling styles of variety shows and cartoons, such as “Laugh In,” “Sesame Street” and “The Pink Panther,” examining what these forms of entertainment have in common. After cementing the design concept through staging discussions with the director and pages of sketches, I drafted the show in AutoCAD, built a ¼” scale model, and painted color elevations for all surfaces of the set. Finally, I attended the technical and dress rehearsals, fine tuning the scenic elements. Avenue Q opened October 1, 2013 and had very positive feedback, offering a hilarious escape for audiences. Designing this set was a great educational experience, not only for myself, but all students involved in the Design/Technology program since it gave them the opportunity to expand their technical skills as they constructed the set and worked backstage. Through this presentation, I hope that those who did not assist in the creation of Avenue Q will gain insight into the process and appreciate all aspects of design that take place behind the “behind the scenes.”