From a very early point in the process, the team behind Arcadia was interested in a sense of realism to the design. The goal was to accurately land the show in time and space while giving the audience simple aesthetic picture so their focus could be on the language of the script. To serve that goal, the scenic design focused around attention to period architectural details specifically in the size an styles of the crown molding and wall details. An overhead element was designed that was not only indicative of coffered ceilings of the time but also blended in a level of mathematics imagery as well as the spiral movement that is mentioned throughout the script. Outside the large windows was kept very minimal using just a lit cyc and small ground row to help suggest the timelessness that occurs over the course of the play. For a moment of surprise at the end of the show, the walls were designed as translucent drops that could change appearance when lit from behind. For the vast majority of the show, the walls remained unchanged showing a soft organic texture on the front side. During the closing moments of the play, this texture would shift, revealing a darker, more chaotic pattern. This served to highlight the sense of chaos when thinking about the future as well as the fact that we can never really know everything about even the simplest things around us.
This design reinforced my process in interpreting existing architecture and trying to replicate those items the best I could. The drafting stages underwent many revisions as I worked with layering molding and trim onto the walls as well as figuring out how best to construct said walls with appropriate structure while being able to effectively pull off the translucent effect.
E.C. Mabie Theatre
Copyright 2015 Nic Wilson