Once on this Island

The concept developed for this particular production is based off of the Haitian tradition of Voodoo. For the set, I started to think about Voodoo altars in people’s homes. At a glance, they seem to be filled with random trinkets and artifacts collected off of the streets; however, every item is a treasure and holds significance in the relationship between the worshiper and their deity.

With this idea in mind I set the play on a boardwalk made of driftwood that winds into the shape of a wave and surrounded it with sand. There’s an overturned boat on stage left that serves as an altar to the gods that pull the strings in this play and transforms into a bed later on.

The boardwalk is lined along one side with candles on hand carved pillars and glass bottles and jars filled with unusual things. All around the set are piles of broken furniture washed up by the ocean.

Most prominently, there is a tree with a trunk of found chairs painted and hung from the ceiling and its branches are made of ribbon. It’s been decorated with lighted bottles and jars that hang down from the tips of its branches.

In the background there are tattered pieces of black, netted scrim that are draped and used as curtains throughout the production.

And at the very bottom of the stage, there is a large pool of water that the characters cross using an old shipping pallet as a bridge. And during a storm, rain falls into it from the grid above.

Location:  Kalamazoo Civic Theatre, Parish Theatre

Services:  Scenic Designer, Props Designer, Scenic Artist

Year: February, 2019