AFYP In the Moment: Set Design for Beauty and the Beast, Jr.

Welcome to the first sneak peek into the technical aspects of our upcoming Spring production!  Today we are focusing on the set, designed by Kaity.  Kaity designs most of the sets for AFYP’s showcases, in addition to stage managing and sound designing for the shows.  Lorena and Angelina bring her ideas to life as the primary set painters (with a lot of help from other redshirts).

So, how do you design a set for a theatrical show?

Kaity always begins with the script.  She reads through the script making notes on what locations are needed and then Kaity and Mary sit down to talk about the overall design.  Practicality comes first.  They decide: how many entrances are needed, where general playing spaces are, what levels are needed, and the general style of the show.  Kaity often finds reference images from the original movie/show to use as inspiration.

Final B&W sketch for periaktoi facings

Final B&W sketch for periaktoi facings

With all of that in mind, Kaity then sketches out the design.  She tries to pick a unique style for each show.   After a few sketches to get to what she and Mary want, the sketches are colored and finalized and the construction can begin.

For this Spring session, the set is made of periaktoi.  Periaktoi are a theatrical device that allow for quick scene changes.  The name Periaktoi comes from the Greek word meaning “revolving”.  They were used in ancient Greek theatre, but became very popular in Renaissance theatre in the 1500s.  A periaktos is a large column, usually with three sides (though AFYP’s touring production The Fisherman and his Wife uses 4-sided periaktoi).  Each side is a different scene, so the periaktos simply needs to be rotated to change to a new scene.

For Beauty and the Beast, Jr., we will have two periaktoi with three sides for our primary locations: the village, the forest, and the castle.   Other set pieces will be used to show transitions between spaces within these main locations.  When we were ready to move onto painting, Lorena and Angelina projected a digital scan of Kaity’s sketches on the facing of the periaktoi.  This allowed them to trace the sketch quickly onto the larger background.  Painting has just begun!  Check back on the blog for more updates, as we get closer to show time!

Miss Lorena tracing the sketch onto the periaktoi facing.

Miss Lorena tracing the sketch onto the periaktoi facing.