PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD

1/5

Photo Credit: Louis Stein 

DESIGN CONCEPT

In this production of Playboy of the Western World, the aim of the design team was to capture the gritty truth of the coastal Irish village of Mayo. John Millington Synge wrote this play in the early 1900s, and when it was first performed in Dublin riots ensued because of how it portrayed the West side of Ireland and the morality of the Irish. The play, which is based on a true story, is about a stranger who comes to a small village and tells them he's on the run because he killed his father with a shovel. When they hear this he is celebrated as a hero and quickly becomes a celebrity. When his father shows up and it is discovered that he is lying though, he quickly loses his status. The set was made to be as natural as possible, utilizing real moss and dirt, costumes used traditional fabrics, and lighting used naturalistic lighting that to try to bring to life as honestly as possible this world.
 
Following suit with this realistic design, the bulk of the sound content was a bed of environmental ambience that was made up of wind, rain, crashing waves, and a plethora of different animals. Other elements of sound in the show were a mule race, in which the mules run around the audience, a partially live Foley effect of the father being struck in the head with a shovel, and a live cello. The show starts off with the lone cello, which is soon joined by a distant storm and builds up to playing an intense duet with a thunderstorm that brings us into the show and gradually leaving the main character alone on this cold and desolate piece of coast. Throughout the show the cello comes back and plays during the transitions. The cello was playing from a house left box, which created an interesting system design challenge. Using a system of speakers that were placed throughout the audience and carefully delayed and processed, as well as a surround system that was sent reverb, I was able to achieve very even coverage and sourcing throughout the entire house, despite the fact that the cello was behind and above some areas of the audience.
SYSTEM DESIGN
PRODUCTION TEAM
Director: Don Wadsworth
Scenic Designer: Samuel Stark
Costume Designer: Carolyn Mazuca
Lighting Designer: Andrew DG Hunt
Dramaturg: Emily Ernst

Photo Credit: Louis Stein 

Opening Storm - Playboy
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Photo Credit: Louis Stein 

Widow Quin Transition - Playboy
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Groundplan