Set Design Challenge
THEME - Memory
All too often we are challenged with plays that go back in time. What do you create when there is a flashback? What if the whole play is a memory and only the last few minutes are in the current moment? Memory is a powerful emotional state and can be visualized in so many ways. We are curious to see how you envision a scenographic environment that evokes memory.
The selected artists were tasked with building
a ½” scale model or a digital 3D rendering.
River of Memories
In this piece you will see a river of small objects winding around six mini sets, four on pedestals and two at stage level.
When I was doing the concept art for this piece, I was inspired by the river Styx in Greek mythology. According to ancient Greek literature, supposedly, when you cross into the afterlife you must cross the legendary river Styx, one of the five major rivers of the underworld. It is said that during a soul’s passage the dead my throw items off the side of the boat into the Styx that represent their earthly memories such as a necklace gifted by a loved one or a treasured childhood toy. While some memories are sweet and cherished, others are dark and painful, just like the current of life itself.
Kate Boyer is a Metis university student who lives in Rosthern Saskatchewan. She has been doing art since she could hold a pencil and has grown to love everything about being creative and making things beautiful. While she may seem pretty hot, this girl is definitely not on fire as she currently works as a volunteer firefighter in her hometown of Rosthern. In her spare time, you will catch Kate rollerblading to class, hanging out with her large family (biological and found), or going on adventures with her partner in life and crime: Matayoo. After getting her degree, Kate hopes to pursue a career in the arts whether that be in acting, film, or visual art/design.
The river form in my piece, then, represents the river Styx and the memories it holds while each mini set can be used to distinguish between different time periods within the play (spotlights could be used to emphasize this effect). The centre mini set would ideally be used for the character residing in the present as the other sets revolve around it just as our memories tend to do with us when we decide to contemplate them again. The river form not only creates an interesting visual but also can function as a railing for each elevated set. It can also be customized for any play by simply changing the objects flowing within the river to mimic the set pieces and props used in the play proper. The backdrop, color pallet, layout, and mini set size/height can also be customized to any play making this design very versatile.
I chose to do this design because, to me, it represents both aspects of memory. While being a beautiful piece of contemporary art filled with interesting bits of history, it is also a metal cage keeping one affixed in a small area surrounded by a fast-flowing current of time. Memory too, is a thing of beauty while also being a cage to which only we hold the key. In this piece, neither side of memory wins over the other, beauty and beast are in perfect harmony, and it is up to each character to draw out which side of memory they personally experience. Here I wished to portray that if memory is beautiful, then it is a harsh beauty, and if memory is a cage, then it is a beautiful cage.
*Note: The furniture on the mini sets is not on the 1/2” scale the rest of the piece is in. I had a very difficult time finding ½” scale furniture locally so I settled for 1” scale furniture. They are there more as placeholders than perfectly to scale design elements however so keep in keep in mind the furniture would look slightly smaller in real life. Any set could go where those particular pieces are. I have done the model people in the set to ½” scale so you can have a better idea of what the set would look like in relation to a human. The models of people range in size from 5’5” to 6” portrayed in scale.
I began theatre construction in High school, in rural Saskatchewan. There under the guidance of teachers, I assisted in building and painting flats for the school plays which I also acted in.
Then 25 years ago, and after a long absence from theatre, I resumed set/prop construction as a parent volunteer with Do It With Class young people’s theatre. I worked under a couple of designers and then I got asked to design/build for the next season. My first show …. Les Mis! I continued to work with the Artistic team at DIWC until our children had grown and moved on to adult life, but that was not the end of my design and building of sets.
I have become involved with other community theatre companies, semi-professional and professional theatre companies and dance studios in Regina. Some of the companies I have worked with include Golden Apple, Tye productions, Prairie Skies, Regina Lyric, Regina Summer Stage, Sterling productions and RuBarb productions as well as assisting/advising/consulting to Campbell Composite High School. Overall, I have designed/built pieces for 100+ shows, the most of which have been volunteer positions.
I enjoy working with the various creative teams and I especially enjoy the creative aspect of taking a napkin drawing to a piece on stage and overcoming the hurdles of building a piece that looks interesting and can support any number of dancers.
As well as designing and building sets, I also enjoy attending live musicals and theatre produtions.
Doorway to the Past
Creating a “Memory” set design triggered memories of me growing up in rural Saskatchewan where the kitchen was the center of the family. Whether it was a meal, a celebration, homework, school projects, family games, or visiting with friends, the kitchen and kitchen table was the focal point. Although the décor and location have changed for me, the kitchen and kitchen table are still the place where memories are made. This remains true with my own family and friends.
As I pondered this idea of a memory, I thought how even though it was 50 years ago that I was doing homework at the kitchen table, it seems like yesterday … like walking through a doorway … a doorway to the past.
In this design an oversized doorway invites you to look back to a kitchen of long ago and relive the memories created in that kitchen. While things have changed from a notebook to a laptop and a smartphone, the kitchen remains the center of family life. Who knows, maybe the person in the kitchen long ago was looking at the doorway and imagining what the future would hold!
Jensine is a theatre designer and stage manager from Saskatoon and an alumnus from the U of S drama department. Select stage management credits include: “With Glowing Hearts” & “Blow Wind” (Dancing Sky Theatre), “Blow Wind” (Station Arts Center), and “Girl in the Box” (Scantily Glad Theatre/Live Five). Select costume designs include: "The Revolutionists" (Persephone Theatre), “With Glowing Hearts” (Dancing Sky Theatre), “The Penelopiad” (Ferre Play Theatre), and “Girl in the Box” (Scantily Glad Theatre/Live Five). Jensine is honoured to have been awarded two Saskatoon & Area Theatre Awards in 2020. Jensine is endlessly grateful for their mentors and friends, the guidance and support they have been given, and to be able to work in and share their passion for the arts and community in Saskatchewan.
Based on personal experience with PTSD and a family history of Alzheimer’s, this set is a visual representation of the fragments of memory that have become fractured and broken over time.
The play in my mind is a one-person show: a single performer stands amidst the towering shards of glass “mirrors”. The glass is semi-opaque, allowing for both silhouette play from behind and projection from the front. They are muddy and jagged, and larger than life. They mimic the climax of “Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin”, where Pooh is stuck in a chasm of crystal walls acting like fun-house mirrors, distorting and disorienting him as he desperately searches for Christoper Robin, whom the audience knows is not there.
Projection and sound design would be a large part of this performance. Starting small and realistic at the start of the performance, the projections could expand and fragment across more and more of the glass, with sound and image becoming distorted and grainy as they grow, mimicking what my own PTSD attacks feel like.
The performer should be made to look smaller and smaller as the projections grow, cowering at centre, crowded around by the towering shards, by the people they’ve loved and lost and memories that push and pull and make volatile. These projections, these memories, play on and on…and on…
I started out with basics and art fundamentals over 10 years ago. Taking deep interest I took many classes majoring in colour composition, value, form, perspective and even brushwork. I often partook in live drawing sessions as well as most recently creating a pandemic animation with the University of Saskatchewan. I was also part of the Remai Modern Art Collective when it started a few years ago. This led me to the graphic design career path.
I did freelance commission work for four murals for Tommy Douglas Collegiate and was heavily involved in the Photography and Photoshop classes. During those years I created t-shirt designs for their clubs and posters for events, tasked with completing a variety of different design projects.
I launched myself into study and completed the Graphic Design Specialist Program. I finished at the top of my class with a Honors Diploma at Saskatoon Business College, with a GPA of 4.33, which is the highest recognized GPA across Canada. During which I got to work with different companies and complete a practicum. Before I even graduated I was hired by a local brewery and worked as their designer and photographer.
Most recently I got to be a part of Adobe's fast paced game show, The Perfect Match for designers. I took home first price with great memories. I have recently launched full-time into the world of business. Putting all my time towards marketing, promoting, engaging with the tech community here in Saskatoon. My journey with my company LayerBeyond.Graphics has been all inspiring and meeting amazing individuals. I would love to help and collaborate with many more amazing individuals as I grow.
Past Life Memory
The world has changed and drastically at that.
As you look at all your memories of life now abandoned in the history of society.
That was once you.
In memory of by gone times.
Hold each photo like its own world.