Great Emergencies was a new script written by Sean DeMers that focuses on the life and accomplishments of Julia Sand. During Julia’s life, she wrote many letters to then president Chester Arthur regarding her thoughts on the presidency and his decisions in running the country. The play largely focuses on the interaction between these two characters during which, Julia deals with family issues and Chester wrestles with the problems of the nation following Garfield’s assassination. While the play is based around real actions and real people in history, Great Emergencies examines the theoretical impact that Julia may have had not only on Chester but possibly the nation as a whole through her letter writing.
The design behind Great Emergencies was largely born out of the need to show a variety of locations over the course of time as well as accommodate moments of the play where there were as many as 18 actors on stage at the same time. These necessities from the script coupled with the budget of a new play festival show focused the design in a large gestural manner while utilizing actors, smaller prop furniture and two rolling door units to establish the number of looks that were needed. The floor treatment was lifted directly off one of the letters that Julia Sand wrote, a large painted chandelier drop helped to cap the space as well as give a sense of time period in history and three steel columns created a frame that also had nods toward the industrial advances the country was undergoing at the time of this script.
David Thayer Theatre
Copyright 2016 Nic Wilson