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Patterns, Mock-ups, and Identity

March 15th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

View of the Patterns set from the Front

Wanted to quickly throw up some mock-ups that Michael Roesch, CPT’s designer, created using Google Sketch-up for Patterns. These are pretty much spot on for what you would have seen had you been in the space (for those of you who were not). I thought Roesch did a fantastic job, even staying one day for 14 hours to get the lights correct–using myself, Jarod, and Beth Wood as the cast had gotten antsy and left hours before.


There are slight differences, of course. Looking at the slightly elevated view below: there were four chairs upstage on either side.

Slight eleveation of viewpoint

These were for the cast members who were inactive at any given moment; or the chairs were moved down center when a scene required. Up left there was an additional clothing rack which held the costumes for the women actors, while the men used the up right rack. The dress form or figure was down left and, of course, had a dress that was being constructed on it. There were three cameras on tripods at left, up-center, and right which were displayed on the TVs at right (there were three).

Ground Plan


The use of the cyc for silhouettes was the solution used given that the triptych called for in the script was not constructed, but it was yet highly effective to the same purpose and Michael did some fantastic lighting at the back which added a certain something to the overall effect. The pictures painted against the cyc were those of the king/queen and Frau Holda as well as those of the Mom/Ed characters, and used by the “model” when Harry Collins was on stage. That is to say, they weren’t quite as ‘disco’ as portrayed in the sketches. I’m also including Michael’s ground plan for the set as well.


Earlier today I was asked by Gilbert Doho to come and talk with his theater class. That was a first for me. Doho is teaching a course on Theater and Identity and wanted me to speak to my identity in theater and in this particular play. I was quite surprised by how much I could speak to that topic, having not quite considered the play in that way. For instance, the main character Aisa, who is, throughout, constructing or reconstructing, her identity: with the dress and play aspects serving as a metaphor for that process. Throughout she is resistant to the past that she has been dealt: alcoholics, dysfunctionals, etc. So, besides actively resisting on the one hand, she is actively constructing on the other.


I talked quite a bit about my own family background, which, interestingly, I have not explicitly explored in theater. It was curious to listen to the students in the class who understood my conundrum and articulated it clearly themselves: that as an x # of generations in American the ethnic and cultural identity that we possess is American and not anything else. I framed this against possibilities, for instance, my father’s side of the family came over from Ireland in the late 1800’s. It would be easy for me to be a Catholic who joins the Ancient Order of Hibernians and insists that my children learn to dance and speak Gaelic. Yet I have avoided that path as being something that, to my mind, is “put on” and not an organic extension of my own true American identity. I also explored the well-publicized tiff that occurred several years ago between August Wilson and Robert Brustein. This was used to frame the conversation, as Wilson was very entrenched in his opinions regarding his own ethnicity, race, and identity; something that I don’t share. To what extent this is because I represent the “dominant” culture and race in this country (for now) I do not know, but assume that this has something to do with it.

A very interesting day that has lent itself to some possible routes for new play creation.

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