by David Edgar
Miami University Theatre • April 2005
About the Design
But first a little about the plot. Art historian discovers a 14th century Italianate fresco behind a brick wall in an abandoned building in a post-Soviet eastern European country. The building was a church, then a mosque, then a warehouse, then a Soviet museum.
In the first scene, the fresco is hidden. It is totally revealed in the next scene, then a scene later is being covered so that it can be removed to another location. The painting proves that the Renaissance started not in Italy, but in an Eastern populated country. As this is happening, a band of political refugees enter the building, taking the restorers and fresco hostage. The local government takes control of the situation by storming the building with commandos and blasting through the fresco.
Everything about the show pushed our limits as a medium-sized theatre program. We really wanted to make as realistic of a space as we could. The research comes from churches in Croatia, Bosnia, and Bulgaria. These are huge spaces, and for the first time I designed walls that were over twenty feet tall. Once the walls went up on stage, the director commented on how the architecture helped raise the stakes of the actors.
The fresco wall was a series of large inserts that were swapped out during blackouts. The final insert crumbled into pieces and was reassmbled every night.
Show Credits (visual components)
Directed by Ann Elizabeth Armstrong
Costume Design by Lin Conaway
Lighting Design by Jay Rozema
Technical Direction and Props by Steve Pauna