What was your biggest challenge in designing a set to encompass the world of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time?
It all came down to math. Clearly, the design has to make sense with the script. Christopher has such a love of math that it made sense to think about that, and how his interest could shape the stage space.
And where did using math as an inspiration lead you?
I started to play with geometric shapes pretty early in the production process. Eventually I chose a half-geodesic dome structure as the basis of the set, versus any other mathematical form, because of the opportunities to incorporate projections on the many walls, while still allowing the actors movement within the structure.
What will a math lover appreciate about this set design that other people might not notice?
This geodesic dome is made up of equilateral triangles. Those triangles are actually three different sizes, in order to smoothly form the necessary radius and circumference of the half-dome, or the curves of the set as a layman might put it.
In creating Christopher’s world for this show, the dome can create the effect of feeling like we’re inside his brain. Is that what you’re going for?
Yes, that’s really the whole production approach. Stephen [the director] told us that he wants the audience to get inside the experience of what it’s like in Christopher’s daily life, to experience the overwhelming sounds and stimulations of navigating from one place to another, and dealing with his family members.
My own dad was a pharmacist, and he loved math. He’d teach me things all the time, practical applications of math concepts. I wish he was around to see this show, so I could say, “Hey, dad, look at the situation where I could use this!”
Has the set been built in advance for loading into the Grace Gamm Theatre?
No, we’ll be building it for the first time on-site. We know the final product will have a 28-foot circumference, so I can pre-cut all the sides of the shapes, but I won’t build it until we can do it on the stage. The prototypes on a smaller scale have worked so far, but I’m looking forward to the real thing!