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Mise-En-Scène: Set design for 'Spring Awakening' draws inspiration from indie rock concerts

A&E Editor

Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Updated: Thursday, November 29, 2012 01:11


Samantha Villarreal | The Houstonian

Zach Adir, freshman theatre major works on painting the brick walls inside the warehouse, which the main stage is set for the upcoming musical "Spring Awakening."

The set designers of “Spring Awakening” have been working since July to make sure the Indie Rock feel is portrayed to the audience.

Assistant theatre professor and set designer for “Spring Awakening” Liz Freese and set design students have been doing research on the set for the musical since July. They would sometimes have meetings over Skype.

Freese said that they did research over time periods, like Germany in the late 1800s. The director’s concept for the play was like an indie rock concert so they researched that as well.

“Some of the main inspiration for the set then came from basically New York, Brooklyn top indie rock concerts,” Freese said. “All of these really great warehouses that have been completely revitalized to be music venues, so that was a lot of key research.”

After finding inspiration, Freese started planning out the set. Eventually it turned into a color model. The color model shows every aspect of the set and allows the director to play “dollhouse” and move the characters around. The color model is done by a quarter inch scale meaning one quarter inch is equivalent to one foot.

The model is placed in the shop for the students to refer to while putting the set together.

Freese wanted to make it clear that the set in Sam Houston State University’s version is nothing like the Broadway version.

“Our version is more about the directors’ purpose,” Freese said. “It is about a group of students’ story telling the story through indie rock music. For those people who are coming wanting a carbon copy of the Broadway show, they will be disappointed.”

Allison Forsyth, theatre design and technology major, is heavily involved in the set design as the Assistant Set Designer. Whenever Freese needs her, Forsyth is there.

Over the summer Forsyth helped Freese with research. During the school year Forsyth has done everything from building the model box to aging the set.

Forsyth enjoys every aspect of set building.

“I love painting; I like the design process like the research, the model making and the rendering,” Forsyth said. “There is a lot of drafting that goes into it. So all of it as a hole I enjoy.”

Before becoming the Assistant Set Designer for “Spring Awakening,” Forsyth was in charge of costumes for “Seagull.”

“It’s really nice to get to change up instead of doing the same thing every time,” Forsyth said. “It’s cool to get a lot of different experience. “

“Spring Awakening” will be showing Nov. 28- Dec. 1

Look in out next issue for part two of the “Spring Awakening Mise-En-Scène” series which will discuss the costume designing and making process.

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