Thursday, December 17, 2009

Set Design: The Consul

The Consul is an opera by Gian Carlo-Menotti. It is set in a post-WWII Eastern European country that is unnamed, but we know it is extremely oppressive. In representation of the oppression and despair of the people, the set is very minimal and very dark and depressing looking. There are two settings within the show. The first one is the Sorels' apartment, where Magda, the mother, John, and the baby live. The second set is the Consulate. Both should be dark and dingy.
One thing that would remain constant between both scenes would be the back wall. It would be painted to look like concrete and have one door in the center, and one window on either side. The windows would have black iron looking bars. The door would have no windows-just a solid wooden door.
The floor would be painted to look like a basic wooden floor, dark in color or very rough and old looking.

For Magda Sorel's apartment, the windows would be covered in brown curtains. There would be a basic four legged kitchen table mid stage right, painted a green/gray color. Around the table, four rough-looking mismatched chairs. In the down left corner, there is a beautifully crafted cradle, symbolic of the hope of youth and of the prosperous life they once had before oppression. Beside the cradle there is a rocking chair. Against the back wall on stage left is a long, wide bookshelf, used for housing props such as the candlesticks and telephone used by Magda. To the left of the door, between the door and bookcase, is an antique gas heater. The rocker and bookshelf would both be in the green/gray color of the table. The cradle would stay in its original wooden color.

The Consulate would have the same four legged gray/green table, but it would serve as the secretary's desk instead of a kitchen table. It would sit up right at an angle. The gray/green book case would be at the same angle up left, and would have two stools in the gray/green color. It serves as a writing desk. Along stage right and stage left, there are six chairs on each side, facing inward. These are the "waiting" chairs where the people wait to see the Consul or the secretary. The curtains from the apartment are removed.

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