Being a set designer in theatre is a relatively new experience for me. I've trained and worked as a costume designer for many years now. Since beginning my masters in Set and Costume Design with the Lir last Sept, I've a much stronger understanding of how these two design elements in theatre are so intrinsically linked. In set design; from mere words and ink, arises a great and provoking world for the characters to engage with and become a part of.
As a set designer, I have to put myself not only the shoes of the actors characters, but also the audience. I believe the audience members are the most important of all of us involved...(Sorry Mr. Director!). Simply put, without the audience, there is no show. I design with the audience in mind at all times. The more practical aspects of design such as sight lines and seating plans are dealt with early on in my design process, so I don't get too carried away with a spectacular design, that only a fraction of my audience can ever see!
When designing this show, I decided upon a style that was akin to selective realism. I feel that this bar is the centre of their world. Their port in the storm so to speak. Although the world outside is changing rapidly through gentrification, time seems to stand still inside their bar. In my design, the bar reflects the characters inner emotion states. It is run down, in disrepair and no longer a functioning member of society.
Although full of heart, the bar, and its people are struggling to find where they belong or fit in in this world today.
This is just a brief outline of my interpretation of the play and the angle I'm taking in my design. The wonderful thing about theatre is that everyone has a different interpretation of the same work, so I'm very excited to hear what people take from the show!
Now I must return to the reality of lists, calls, emails, props, builds, polystyrene, flats, paints and my scale ruler , in order to make this world a reality!
Sarah Foley - Set Designer