Friday, August 2, 2013


There are a LOT of plays set in the family kitchen.

Recently  I wrote about the design difficulties of creating one kitchen set right after another on the same stage - using a lot of the same appliances and cabinets too.  (HERE)

SPOILER coming...

Here's a progress pic of that second kitchen for Circle Theater's production of Exit, Pursued by a Bear.  The snap was taken yesterday after I set dressed for picture call so construction isn't quite finished, and it's under work lights, so please make allowances; it'll be way cooler at Opening when the deer head is highlighted and there's a view out windows etc.  But you can see the physical metamorphosis of the last kitchen for Miracle on South Division Street into this one.

Exit, Pursued by a Bear, Circle Theatre

Miracle on South Division Street, Circle Theatre

Details, colors, and moods of the two rooms are quite different, expressing, at base-rock simplest, unhappy versus happy homes.

(BTW those weird bags overhead?  Expensive new LED stage lights made construction-dust-proof with the application of Official Theatrical Pillowcases.  Among other details you can't quite make out are the sunflower decorated flyswatter and the tasty pork rinds.)

Other kitchens from other plays?

Farmhouse kitchen for The Drawer Boy, Plano Repertory Theatre

Yuppie kitchen-family room for The Rabbit Hole, Contemporary Theatre of Dallas

Urban loft kitchen for Dinner with Friends, WaterTower Theatre

Lego kitchen for Bright Ideas, Circle Theatre

Like any other room, kitchens on stage are portraits of the family that cooks in them.  They offer the designer the same choices of form, color, set dressing etc. etc. though you are constrained by the possibilities of borrowing appliances.  You can only use what you can get hold of!  (For Drawer Boy, above, a terrific Harvest Gold stove which weighed an absolute ton.)  But because the audience understands kitchens they'll pick up even subtle clues.  

The moral, I suppose, is that as a scenic designer you better be prepared to design and redesign the Family Kitchen over and over again!

Photo credits on my website at

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