Into the Woods
Miami University Theatre • April 2013
About the Design
The characters in Into the Woods have been with us all our lives. Forced to test and try their humanity, the characters learn how to connect to each other and to us by telling their stories.
Since Sondheim and Lapine use both obvious and subtle metaphor to tell the story, I imagined "the woods" as a collection of stories. We use books, magazines and newspapers to tell our stories, so the textures of the trees are built up with pages from these sources, then washed over with translucent color to tie them together. The oldest print materials (illuminated manuscripts, broadsides) are layered at the base of the trunks, and as you move up the trunks, newer and newer newspapers take over. It is hard to make these out in the production shots. You can see it a bit here:
Foliage (overhead and at the base of the trees) is suggested by magazine pages from all over the world, spanning the past 150 or so years. I ran some vines made of copper wire up the trees, suggesting a new conduit for transmitting stories.
One of our goals was to avoid the "precious" feel of the storybook characters, so we took inspiration from the the storytellers of Eastern Europe, using the early 20th century as a visual source. The style nods to modernism and constructivism, and features exposed theatrics. The animals appear as puppets, with the puppeteer visible to the audience. We did our best to keep the characters human and relatable.
Show Credits (visual components)
Direction and Scene Design by Gion DeFrancesco
Costume Design by Letty Delgado
Lighting Design by Russ Blain
Puppet Design by Patrick Hayes
Technical Direction and Props by Steve Pauna