Thursday, July 21, 2011

Designer's Life - Research

Research is one of the great joys.

I'm working on first sketches for In the Next Room: the Vibrator Play, by Sarah Ruhl, which starts Kitchen Dog Theater's new season.  It opens September 9th, so I better hurry!

But this morning I'm going back through my research for 1880.  The director and I are tempted by Craftsman Style, but that's a bit late, especially since a character would rarely live in a house built at their play's period; most of us live in houses a few or many years old.  So I'm leafing through a foot-high stack of architecture, interior design, and building detail books...

I refuse to design generic stage Victorian. (If I see another corner block...!)
But maybe Gothic Revival?  The sorta pick-up-stick Carpenter Gothic version?
image borrowed from Art History Housewife

Considered a very "moral" style in its day, it might set up a nice flutter of symbols with "modern" technology... and our contemporary attitudes.  We marvel at the characters' ignorance, but they saw this situation as a medical condition, not sex-life.  Sex, as we think of it, was not something... nice women thought about then, or admitted to thinking about anyway, or something.  Ignorance is very muddling.

The prop designer is finding fascinating early vibrators as part of her research.  Research is fun!  But not getting me closer to solving my technical problem at the end of the show...
Research?  Procrastination?

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