Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England
Director: Meredith Alexander Scenic Design: Jess Fialko Costume Design: Akeem Celestine Lighting Design: Courtney Schmitz Sound Design: Elin Dejus Stage Manager: Marguerite Sugden
David Thayer Theatre
Budget for this Design Area
Comments by the Designer
Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England is a cosmic comedy by Madeleine George. This play centers on the relationship ex-couple, a dean named Wreen and her ex-lover Greer. Greer is diagnosed with cancer and moves back into Wreen’s house. Greer is introduced to Wreen’s new partner Andromeda. This play explores “alternative kinship structures” and asks the audience to re- examine what the audience believes to be normal.
Wreen and Greer, spent their early years together and discovered that they wanted to split ways to explore other opportunities. While apart, Wreen develops a lustful relationship with a much younger woman, Andromeda. When Greer moves back into Wreen’s house, Greer sees how much has changed since they parted ways. Dean Wreen makes the effort to take care of Greer while her relationship with Andromeda begins to fall apart.
When seeing the personalities collide, I began to think about these characters as solar systems in a galaxy. The color palette for these characters also incorporated personality traits. For example, Wreen is the Dean of this New England college, and I wanted to incorporate masculine business-related colors like greys, blues and black. In contrast, Andromeda is a young woman who explores her spiritual beliefs and energies. I wanted to incorporate a lot of color and patterns into Andromedas color palette to match how enthusiastic she is. There are also characters that exist in the show that become otherworldly. Taking a look at the Caretakers color palette, I found earth tones to be very appropriate The Caretaker is the narrator of the play who likes to talk about gardening. The caretakers uses gardening tips as metaphors for handling relationship issues.
As time passes, the planned museum closing brings up emotions and past moments that characters have shared at the museum. To protest the museum closing, Andromeda creates a mammoth costume that causes chaos and laughter. The last two characters of the play are the Earl Man characters, who are a part of the museum diorama. The Early Man characters reflect society and mimic the contemporary conversations of museum patrons. In the last moments of the play, the roles become reversed. The Early Man characters become animated and Dean Wreen, Greer, and Andromeda become the display for the Early Man characters to comment on. In this moment, I want the Early Man characters to have characteristics of Dear Wreen and Greer from their early years together as if it where the first day that they met each other at the museum. In that final scene we freeze in a moment of expansion. The roof of the world created has opened and the ideas presented at the beginning.
When it came to the mammoth puppet, I looked into what a mammoth would look like is someone tried to make it in a children’s craft class. My assistant has a background in mask and puppet making and I wanted to put those skills to good use. Making a conscious effort to not mimic a real mammoth on stage we get the comedy of the show going while Andromeda walked in on Wreen and Greer kissing.
Overall, the work and time that went into designing this production was very informative. With a $2500 budget and a costume shop staff to help execute the design I was able to focus on being a designer. I learned of the many ways a designer can communicate with other designers and those who are not designers. I learned that the vision is the most important idea that needs to be conveyed and having the skill to show that vision are crucial. I was happy with the outcome of the production because I was able to think on my feet and design according to the need of the script and desires of the director.
Copyright 2017 Akeem Celestine