Have you ever wondered what it takes to bring a production to life? The journey from the very first read through of the script to opening night is a creative collaboration process like no other. Bringing a production to life takes a team of well-trained and committed artisans whose names rarely appear on the marquee. While once a year, they are recognized during award season, they mostly trail behind the scenes to ensure what happens on stage helps tell a story, express the director’s vision and create a lasting impression on the audience. The creation of a play is a fascinating journey that relies on the talent and creativity of a team of dedicated theatre artists. It’s a true hands-on endeavor. We had a chance to sit in on the recent Designer Forum for The Motherf**ker with the Hat and learned a lot about the process of making theater magic. These creative artists pulled back the proverbial curtain and gave us a peek inside. Here are some highlights.
Rob Lutfy (Director) “Theater is basically problem solving. I knew I wanted the entire play to have a strong caffeinated feel and I worked with the creative team to achieve that in many different ways. One was to keep the momentum, tone and energy going throughout the entire production starting with the curtain speech to turn your f**king phones off and including all the scene changes.”
Craig Wolf (Lighting Designer) “Stylistically, the job of lighting is to bridge the gap between the set and the cast. We specifically lit and energized the scene changes to capture that caffeinated quality Rob wanted.”
Matt Lescault-Wood (Sound Designer) “I call this a mix tape show. I wanted the music to reflect the characters and the neighborhood (New York’s Hell’s Kitchen). I found a lot of 60s Puerto Rican music, as well as Jazz/Hip-Hop/Fusion that captures the energy and lifestyle of these people.”
Shelly Williams (Costume Designer) “My first task is to create a scene timeline to get the progress of these characters lives straight. They are modern-day people and I wanted their costumes to be grounded in reality and reflect the passage of time with subtle changes. People will naturally carry over small elements of their wardrobe into the next day. Because the actors are involved in scene changes, there was not much time for total costume changes anyway. When shopping, I try to think what the character would buy when they go shopping and create a closet for each one. Each item is selected and fashioned after deep research on the character as well as input from the actor.”
Rob Lutfy “At some point in the creative process, you have to let go and it becomes the actor’s play. You provide a roadmap for them to follow and they you step away and let it breathe. Enjoy learning about the design process? Come to our next free Designer Forum, DATE. You’ll gain a new respect for the craft of making theatre and the craftspeople who make it their life’s work.”