Marisela Treviño Orta
Director: Erica Vannon Scenic Design: Lindsey LaRissa Kuhn Costume Design: Zamora Simmons Lighting Design: Courtney Gaston Sound Design: Wade Hampton
Budget for this Design Area
Comments by the Designer
Shoe is a new work written by University of Iowa playwright Marisela Treviño Orta which premiered at the Iowa New Play Festival in 2018. The power of Shoe lies in the authenticity of its story in 21st Century America, in a time where the Baby Boomer Generation is aging and their now adult children are tasked with finding suitable care for their vulnerable parents. In Shoe, this dynamic becomes toxic, following an adult woman from a Latinx family who is trapped in a small trailer with her two adult siblings, her younger sister, and her mother, Renata, who is in failing health. Renata’s toxic domination of her adult children’s lives as the matriarch of the family eventually drives Marta to make a choice to leave despite her feelings of familial obligation.
Scenically, my design focused on creating a full snapshot of a double-wide mobile home on stage. Crucial to the overall design of the production was creating a sense of enclosure for Marta, as she struggles with agoraphobia which leaves her afraid to leave her family home. In order to emphasize the tension between Marta’s desire to break free and her fear of the outside world, I placed the front door to the trailer downstage center, utilizing the existing architecture of the theatre to support the sense of being in a raised mobile home. This allowed the moments where Marta peers into the outside world to be shared intimately with the audience rather than having the actor facing upstage, a configuration found in a more traditional ground plan. The character of the home itself was critical in the storytelling of this production. The muted beige and brown color palette spoke to both the socioeconomic status of the home, but also the deterioration of both the family and their living situation. Using real-world materials, like carpet and laminate flooring to create visceral sounds as well as color palettes and textures common to mobile homes built in the 70’s and 80’s, I was able to capture the feeling of a house seems to be stagnant and stifling.
Designing Shoe was an exercise in thoughtful world-building through the use of texture and details. In creating a realistic pseudo-box set on a low budget ($150.00) my design relied on my immediate resources to populate all of the walls, cupboards, and surfaces with meaningful set dressing and detailed props. An additional challenge of Shoe was the amount of consumable goods written into the script to convey the importance of these meals to a Latinx family. These details are critical when portraying realism to an audience expecting authenticity.
Copyright 2018 Lindsey LaRissa Kuhn