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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dumpster diving

Had Jon Savage elected not to apply a uniform coat of black paint to his set, his design would not just draw attention away from Jon Lipsky’s play Walking the Volcano, it would have upstaged it altogether.  His set, a collage of structural items: table legs, corner braces, broken parts of machinery, combined with bits and pieces of molding, picture frames, stair rails, handgrips, scraps of leather, some engraved, some not, items ranging in size from entire newel posts to empty cigarette cartons.  Had he left them in their natural state, as they had been when he and his team plucked them from many attics and antique dealers, junkyards, even dumpsters they visited, and attached to the three planked walls—wood salvaged from a previous set no less—had he left it all untreated, his design would have been visual a treat for the eyes, as provocative, interesting, and imaginary as any art installation worthy of an exhibit at the ICA.   But in theater, subtlety becomes the virtue; as they say in the business, the play’s the thing!

Marc Olivere
Scenic Builder, Walking the Volcano

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