The scenographic interpretation and staged presentation is very straight forward in presenting a set that is an appropriate environment, addressing the needs of the script and the Director.
It is an efficient and effective design solution reflecting collaboration between the Director and Designer in supporting the light relief/sit com style of the play.
The play takes place at night and is set in an out-dated, 1980s middleclass two storied house in a mature estate. The tired interior is open plan, with an out of date sitting-dining room/kitchen space furnished with broken appliances, kitchen cupboards, drawer fronts, faulty refrigerator door, etc.
The inside of the front door and stairs can be seen upstage right through an arch and access to the back of the house can be seen upstage left through a door off the kitchen. Some shrubbery and front garden outside the front door can be seen up stage right. The lighting of this shrubbery and front door area is used very effectively to indicate the arrival and departure of cars.
There is also a backdoor (stage left) from the kitchen to the exterior.
The psychological separation of the kitchen from the sitting room space is supported visually by a double-clad return coming a little distance downstage centre, under and alongside the bulkhead for the return on the staircase which protrudes through the stylised ceiling piece.
The Costume Design works well and looks the part in supporting the cast in playing their parts and giving presence and credibility to the author’s characters in time, place and social standing.
The Lighting Design made effective use of the vertical planes, ceiling pieces, depth of the set and the exterior outside the front door.
The Hair and Make-up Artist/Designer ably and convincingly supported the performers in their character with styled hair dos, kempt and unkempt hair as appropriate to the specific character at that time.
The special effects worked on que, looked convincing and appeared to stand up the robust action of the cast.
The one element that I have reservations about is the moodily lit night sky with moon and distant lights that spreads from wing to wing above the set. While this panoramic swipe of sky and lit dots gave the feeling of overlooking Dublin Bay it also subliminally dwarfed the action by representing the cosmos in which this miniscule, pitiful snip of human interaction takes place. Areas above the set and the action need careful consideration; if the area is distracting to the eye through being lighter in tone or of contrasting/different chrominance, it may intrude on the psychic of the audience member and adversely affect their theatrical experience.
The visual presentation of a brisk, humorous, wordy play as Shush with its crisp one-liner quips needs the visual support of the designers to encourage and settle the focus of the audience’s attention on the delivery of the characters dialogue and the performance of the cast.
The programme at €6 is good value, in that it includes short biographies on author, cast and crew and the script with stage directions. Some production companies provide useful content such as the Director’s view on the play, Author’s comments, and/or sketches by the designer(s) giving their insight into some of the thought process behind the concept development. Such input from the Designers is of immense value to students of Performance, of Design for Performance and of Design for Stage and Screen. Such content is to be encouraged and when provided, welcomed.
Jim Culleton: http://www.irishplayography.com/person.aspx?personid=285http://ie.linkedin.com/pub/jim-culleton/17/b43/443
Anthony Lamble: http://www.irishtheatreonline.com/ita/itaprofile.aspx?id=1605http://www.bravo22company.com/creative/katherine-heath/
Niamh Lunney: http://www.abbeytheatre.ie/people/view/niamh_lunny1http://www.irishplayography.com/person.aspx?personid=5246
Kevin Mc Fadden: http://ie.linkedin.com/pub/kevin-mcfadden/9/143/26
Hair & Make-up
Val Sherlock: http://ie.linkedin.com/pub/val-sherlock/17/6b8/14b
Craig Starkey and Se Purcell http://ie.linkedin.com/pub/se-purcell/2a/a67/606
Abbey Theatre Theatre: http://www.abbeytheatre.ie/whats_on/event/shush/
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