Aurora Fra Bergen, or IBSANITY
Director: Nina Morrison Scenic Design: Savanna Genskow Costume and Puppet Design: Lindsey LaRissa Kuhn Lighting Design: Alex Casillas Sound Design: Elin Dejus Stage Manager: Sophie Katz
E.C. Mabie Theatre
Budget for this Design Area
Comments by the Designer
Based on the playwright and director Nina Morison’s experience directing Henrik Ibsen’s Lady from the Sea, the play Aurora Fra Bergen, or IBSANITY, re-examines the “wellmade play” structure through a queer lens. Following the titular character Aurora, the play dissects the differences between passionate desire and pragmatic attraction through Aurora’s love triangle between herself, her co-worker and longtime friend Illan, and a mysterious and magical woman named Karine. Further, the text subverts typical structure by blurring the line between character and performer with a play-within a play structure. The play’s climax is a literal storm in which Illan is whisked away. Both playful and hilarious, IBSANITY also hits home in its honest exploration of romantic relationships by juxtaposing its lighthearted tone with moments of the hard-hitting realities of unrequited love and desire. In designing IBSANITY I worked to create a distinct difference between the pragmatic and the passionate characters through my selection in color, shape and fabric. Specifically, I highlighted these differences by giving Aurora and her coworker Aksel structured garments like suit jackets, blazers in cool muted colors like greys, blues and greens. On the other end of the design spectrum are Illan, a hopeless and tortured romantic, and Karine, the mysterious woman from the sea, who are both seen in loose flowing garments. Illan floats between the cool corporate world of the play and the mysterious passionate world. Often she looks like an outsider in the office environment, a signal of the fundamental differences between her worldview and Aurora’s perceptions. In keeping with this theme, Karine is dressed in a flowing skirt and blouse which have Scandinavian details, paying homage to the setting of the play, which is located in the small town of Bergen, Norway. I chose garments with lightweight fabrics because of the “storm” we created on stage, which included an industrial fan, where the movement of the costumes was crucial to conveying the chaos and melodrama of the scene. In addition to establishing the differences between the passionate and pragmatic worlds, I also designed a non-traditional character for IBSANITY. Aurora has a pet spider named Angelica, who was a rod puppet manipulated by a single puppeteer. Angelica was comically oversized and treaded the line between adorable and abominable. The design for her look was modeled from a tarantula, and she was made with a paper-mache and felt body with articulated legs. Her look was mimicked by the costuming of the puppeteer—both were predominately black with a single red feature—the puppet had red beady eyes, and her puppeteer had a red bowtie to echo this detail. IBSANITY had a budget of $200 dollars, which predominately went towards the traditional Scandinavian trim on Karine’s costumes and Illan’s dresses. The cost of building the spider puppet also came from this budget. There were 5 actors in the production with a total of 13 costume looks. This production provided a valuable reminder about the importance of fabric quality in designing modern shows. Ultimately, it was the weight and feel of the costumes in combination with a strong delineation of color which helped to tell the story.
Copyright 2017 Lindsey LaRissa Kuhn