Date of Award

12-2012

Degree Type

Creative Project

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Department

Theatre Arts

First Advisor

Shawn Fisher

Abstract

It isn't often that a man as beloved as Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, comes along. Dr. Seuss wrote more than 60 books in his lifetime, many of which have become classics in the world of children’s literature. His poetic tongue twisters and inventive illustrations have become iconic to several generations of children all over the world. Dr. Seuss' books are not only fun and full of imagination, but more often than not they teach powerful lessons of self-confidence, kindness, and even political awareness.

In April 2010, I was asked to design the set for Seussical the Musical by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens for Utah State Theatre’s 2010-2011 season. In a way I felt the weight of doing justice to the wonderful world of Dr. Seuss, but I was also excited to have the chance to help bring these stories to life.

Just after I completed the design for Seussical the Musical, I was asked to design the set for The Three Musketeers, which was going to be performed the following semester. I was really excited about the assignment; nearly everyone knows the story of the musketeers and their adventurous swashbuckling. I was eager to read the script, as I knew it would be packed with adventure.

I was a little surprised when I read the script and found out that it was a lot more like a screenplay than a play script. Ken Ludwig commented in the introduction to the play:

One of the problems for an adaptor of The Three Musketeers involves the story itself. In the novel, the Musketeers and their swashbuckling novitiate roam from one adventure to the next with almost illogical abandon. There is no single over-­‐arching story except d'Artagnan's rise from villager to Musketeer.

The novel, and therefore the play, is extremely episodic as it jumps from one scene to the next quickly. The play contains twenty-two scene changes with only three returns to a previous location. I knew that it was going to be an enormous challenge to design a set for a fast paced action play that was able to portray all of these different locations without slowing down the action for scene shifts. The one thing I knew from the beginning was that I didn’t want to have black outs while the scenes changed--I wanted the action to continue and for the scene shifts to become part of the excitement of the action.

In the fall of 2010, I was asked to design the costumes for the children's show Step on a Crack that would be in the following year's season. I was thrilled to be designing costumes for a main-stage production and couldn't wait to begin the research process.

Comments

This work made publicly available electronically on October 2, 2012.

10-2-2012