Director: Morgan Grambo
Stage Manager: Olivia Leslie
Scenic Design: Lindsey Larissa Kuhn
Costume Design: Zamora Simmons
Lighting Design: Courtney Gaston
Sound Design: Bri Atwood
Budget for this Design Area
Comments by the Designer
Part cold case podcast, part memory play, Found follows the ways that different people cope with grief and loss. Two sisters, Tabitha and Diana, have taken different paths in order to deal with the sudden and inexplicable loss of their other sister many years ago in the woods outside their childhood home. Tabitha has become a detective pursuing cadaver recovery training and Diana has begun making true crime podcasts, focusing recently on her sister’s disappearance. Conflict arises over Diana’s uncovering of old wounds, but when a lead on the case becomes apparent, they pool their resources and dive headfirst into the mystery. Through their determination, they discover the killer and return to the forest to recover the remains.
This play alternates between present day and explorations into the memories of Tabitha and Diana as they recall the traumatic night they lost their sister. Without the ability to change physically change the set, we needed to be able to transport the sisters back to that moment. I achieved this by lighting through the abstract wall of the apartment created with shipping pallets. The shadowy lines were reminiscent of nighttime shadows through a dense forest. I enhanced this by adding lights from above striped with the texture of tree trunks. In the final scene, they return to the forest in present day. By using a darker green light coupled with fog, I created an environment that looked very different from the memory space we were familiar with. The actors held flashlights and the stage was dark except for the striking shadows of light emanating from behind the trees.
The scenic designer and I collaborated very closely on this production as we were both interested in the conversation between these pallet walls and the forest. Our biggest challenge was the shallow depth of the stage and getting enough light behind the pallets to create the shadows that we were interested in. Our plan to use our LED strip lights as back light did not provide the defined linear shadows that we had hoped for, so I augmented that effect with gobo patterns from above, stretching the shadows of the trees towards the audience. I also added lights on the color behind the walls to achieve depth and shadow within the pallets themselves. The fog machine was placed upstage of the pallets to hide the source, yet still allow fog to creep through the “trees”. This production and close collaboration allowed me more flexibility to try different options to achieve something that we both wanted.
Copyright 2020 Courtney Gaston