I really wanted to focus my set design on the development of the new world, the old world and the transitional period between these worlds as the main elements of the set. I focused on bright colours and sharp triangles for the old world; my intention was to create a sick, twisted and corrupted space. I wanted to do this through a more unconventional set, by making the design more like an art installation. Inspiration for this came from looking at the artists; Phyllida Barlow and Michael Beutler. I really liked looking at the ways in which these artists incorporated their structures with the architecture of the environments they were placed in. I also was particularly taken by an installation by Michael that involved the construction of a flimsy florescent yellow structure that was placed into a stark concrete space. This instantly made me think of the world that I was aspiring toward for my new world.


(source: pinterest. Image by Micheal Beutler)

One of the things I found really difficult about this project was the fact that the timings for the set movements are dictated by the Falsetto, and cannot be changed. One of the main mistakes that I made was to create such a large scale set for the new world, looking back at the Falsetto now I have realized that there is not a lot of time to get this up, and that not a lot of action happens at this position. I do, however, stick to the fact that I think this is a very important area in the story to create. I think this is why I decided to create the world large scale anyway; To show that it is just as important, if not more important than the old world. After all God is wanting to create a better world for Noye and his family, so surely it needs to be impressive.

I spent a while writing out where I’d want all of my scene changes to occur, and I came to the conclusion that having the scene changes as part of the action of the opera could be really interesting. An example of this would be the moment when the material boat engulfs the audience; my idea of this is to get all of the animals to maneuver the fabric as a sort of dance/ physical theatre piece. The inspiration for this aspect of my design came from watching the recent production of Pinocchio at the Nottingham Playhouse that I went to see. In this production all of the set pieces were hung from the rigging, every time a piece was needed the cast members slowly lowered them from the air and moved them into place to create different spaces. I thought that this worked really well and that it was a really interesting piece of theatre to watch.


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Another development exercise we all created a short graphic comic strip of a scene from The Ash Girl. This was an interesting task for me, as graphic is not my usual style. The exercise definitely got me to direct the play in more detail. It made me think about what the play is trying to say.

I chose Act 1 Scene 11; Who lives in the mirror? This scene is the scene we are introduced to the fairy in the mirror. It is a very long scene, and one of the most typical to the story of Cinderella. I chose to focus on the transformation of Ashie herself. I think that this is an interesting change, as it is all about her feelings toward herself and not just a change of clothes. She begins the scene believing she is ugly and worthless and ends it believing she is beautiful.

Another key part of this scene that I chose to include was a line that Otter says ;

‘Do you have any idea how dangerous fairies are? They’re always changing things, turning the world topsy-turvy. You’re going to change me into something, I can see it in your face.’

I like this quote as Otter is a friend to Ashie and he is almost warning her that she is beautiful the way she is, she doesn’t need the fairy to change anything about herself. She should believe in herself the way she really is.