SCENIC DESIGN

Get Out Alive

January 2020

Scenic & Props Designer

Steppenwolf Look Out Series

Steppenwolf 1700 Theater

 

Dir. Roger Ellis

Asst. Dir. Rebecca Blaich

Costume Des. Ziare Paul-Emile

Lighting Des. Garrett Steinke

Projections Engineer Chris Owens

Get Out Alive is a multi-media performance event that deconstructs writer/performer Nikki Lynette's mental health journey. Through the lens of an afrogoth celebration of life service, this work revolves around themes of persistence and survival in the face of extraordinary odds.

For more information on the show, please visit http://nikkilynette.com/the-play

The 2020 iteration of Get Out Alive as a part of Steppenwolf's Look Out series was developed with the playwright and performer, Nikki Lynette. The production occurs within three distinct spaces: a memorial service/DJ booth, the performer's symbolic cluttered mental space, and her art studio. All three are presented onstage in a triptych split via hanging floral arrangements, so the delineations can exist while preserving the open dance space. All elements were pre-made and installed into the space over one install day, shared with tech rehearsals in the space.

Elevator Girl

January 2019

Scenic & Props Designer

Vanguard Arts Collective

The Edge Theatre

 

Dir. Adrienne Matzen

Projections Des. Erin Pleake

Lighting Des. Michael Goebel

Costume Des. LaVisa Willilams

Sound Des. Steve Labedz

Illustrator John Shane

Elevator Girl was never meant to be more than an urban legend, a sexual revenge fantasy created by Vanessa and her graphic illustrator boyfriend. But when the comic superhero unleashes her boyfriend’s darkest fantasies, as well as a flesh-and-blood copycat, Vanessa must stop EG in her tracks—with the truth.​

"First and foremost: Megan Chaney’s scenic design for “Elevator Girl,” a comic-book panel-inspired set with a functioning elevator door, immediately conveys a sense of the universe that we’re stepping into for the evening in a playful and exciting manner." - Ben Kaye for New City Stage

The characters of Elevator Girl are 3D people navigating a 2D world, provided by the relatively flat and minimized black and white world behind them. The props and people of Urbanville stand boldly against the cartoon textures of the backdrops. Peter's apartment and Vanessa's office flank a sliding multi-use elevator door at the center of a life-size comic page. The top panels offer dynamic projection surfaces, separated by a violent slice through the center of the space. The build was executed with a budget below 500 dollars, and in a 3-day build window.

Colorado

July 2017

Scenic & Props Designer

Vanguard Arts Collective

The Edge Theatre

 

Dir. and Projections Des. Chris Owens

Lighting Des. Michael Goebel

Costume Des. Hanna Wisner

Sound Des. Joe Palermo

"Thank you all! Thank you for loving me so much." So ends the victory speech of 17-year old Tracey Ackhart upon her coronation as Miss Late Teen Colorado. The "loving," alas, soon ends. Days before the national pageant in Virginia Beach, Tracey disappears, hurling the rest of her family, whose lives until then had revolved around her, into disarray. Simultaneously satirical, witty, tender and unsettling, Colorado is a play about the dreams of a family, and the traps set to keep those dreams far, far away.

The scenery for Colorado is intended to give the characters each their own small pocket of existence to live in, isolated from each other. The backdrop pieces keep the mountain scenery of the titular state present in their world in a distant abstraction. The set was executed within a minimal budget, without existing scenic stock. All scenery was executed within a 3 day build window, and all walls and platforms were able to be removed from the space nightly  to accommodate other productions in the space.

Whatever We Want

October 2014

Scenic Designer & Paint Charge

Vivarium Theatre Company

Bo-ho Theatre: The Heartland Studio

Dir. Megan Johns

Lighting Des. Oriana Dentici

Sound Des. Matt Beard

Whatever We Want follows two sisters over the course of 15 years as they're separated by their parents' divorce and struggle to maintain their relationship. The show deals with reconciling the reality of loved ones with the way they exist in our minds, and learning to meet the adults we loved as children. There're some laughs too!

The sisters' continuing questions are all based in their childhood memories, so the worlds visited through the play are all built on top of the remnants of the dock that they start in. The paint design for the floor and walls is an abstraction of that pond and woods that their best memories were made in. The scenery is all built out of cubes that are re-arranged to create 7 distinct locations. The design was executed with a minimal budget and to work around a lack of backstage storage space for scenic pieces. 

Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical was presented as an independent senior thesis at the Dairy Center for the Arts. The musical tells the story of the doomed scientist's fatal experiment through deeply moving music. Whether it’s drug use, the struggle to find one’s self, or mere desire, Hyde lives in us all.

 

The design is intended to create an abstract space for the events of the play that reflects the Victorian origin of the story through a modern lens. The concrete objects in the scenery, like the archways, are based off of locations in Whitechapel, London from the era and crime scenes of Jack the Ripper. These elements have been doubled when possible to echo the dualities within the story. The colors of the set provide distinct tones for scenes placed in specific areas, and foreshadow the locations of each of Hyde's murders.

Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical

April 2013

Scenic Designer, Prop Master & Paint Charge

Dairy Center for the Arts: East Theatre

 

Dir. Daniel Leonard

Music Dir. Raechel Sherwood

Choreographer Jenn Calvano

Lighting Des. Michael Bateman

Costume Des. Charlotte Ballard

Novelist Franklin Woolsey dies mid-sentence, but his secretary Myra continues to take dictation. Attacked by skeptics, the press, and Woolsey's jealous widow, Myra sets out to prove she is more than just an artful forger. Is she trying to steal Woolsey's legacy or does she truly posses a gift born from a relationship that transcends the professional? An unusual romance blooms from the creative process as Ghost-Writer walks the fine line between fact and fiction. 

 

The scenery is intended, rather than to create an exact replica of Woosley's studio, to reflect Myra's memories of the space. Details essential to the telling of her story, or conveying the tone of the space are included, while others are left out. The breaks in the walls allow them to "fade" into the background rather than simply stop. The colors of the set are intended to create a warm, nostalgic sepia tone for the production to live in.

 

Ghost-Writer was nominated for Outstanding Production of a Play at the 2013 Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Awards.

Ghost-Writer

February 2013

Scenic Designer & Paint Charge

Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company

Dairy Center for the Arts: Carsen Theatre

 

Dir. Josh Hartwell

Lighting Des. Kerry Cripe

Costume Des. Brenda King

Sound Des. Andrew Metzroth

A Broadway Christmas Carol

Dec. 2012

Scenic Designer, Paint Charge & Prop Master

University of Colorado at Boulder: University Theatre

 

Dir. Nathan Stith

Lighting Des. Alex Rausch

Costume Des. Kendra Cutter

Sound Des. Jutin Mier & Elizabeth Jamison

Projection Des. Jason Banks

Like all great parody and satire, A Broadway Christmas Carol is part spoof and part love note to that which it skewers. At the end of the performance, we leave the theatre uplifted by Dickens and laughing all the way home. The combination of love and laughter in A Broadway Christmas Carol continues to prove that a dose of “a little song, a little dance, a little egg nog down your pants” is the perfect way to begin the holiday season.

 

The design is based around the two worlds of the play: the sleek and stylized world of the Broadway characters, and the realistic and sparse Victorian world of the Dickensian characters. The world of Dickens is presented within the Broadway world through the false proscenium, and the characters are allowed to make the bridge between them. The scenic and props design is filled with nods to iconic musicals, from Phantom of the Opera to 42nd Street, and also embraces the iconic image of Christmas as celebrated by the Dickens classic.

Everything You Can Imagine is Real:

An Evening of One-Acts

February 2012

Scenic Designer, Paint Charge & Prop Master

University of Colorado at Boulder: Loft Theatre

 

Dir. Jenn Calvano

Lighting Des. Michael Bateman

Costume Des. Kendra Cutter

Everything You Can Imagine is Real is an evening of one act plays where the audience experiences the artistic mind, where the ordinary becomes extraordinary. The evening consisted of Degas C'est Moi by David Ives, Ballerinas by Don Nigro, The Bohemian Seacoast by Don Nigro, and Philip Glass Buys a Loaf of Bread by David Ives. Each piece centers around and celebrates the role of the fantastic in everyday life.

 

The design is based on Edgar Degas' Cafe Concert Singer. Rather than a strictly scenic style painting, the floor design is intended to reflect a piece of art functioning as a performance space. Furniture use was minimal, and ballerinas stood in for the majority of furniture and scenery. One minimalist piece of furniture was designed and custom built to function as a convertible bar and bed unit that blended in with the floor design. The design was executed within a total production budget less than $300 and minimal build labor.

Outreach Tour: The Time Machine

February-May 2012

Scenic Designer & Prop Master

University of Colorado at Boulder: Touring Production

 

Dir. Andrew Metzroth

Costume Des. Sara Hildebrand

Sound & Media Des. Andrew Metzroth

The CU Outreach tour is a program designed to bring theatre to places where theatre is hard to come by. Productions are toured to local schools and retirement homes to educate, enlighten and entertain. This season's production of The Time Machine used H.G.Wells' classic to discuss the scientific method, the power of exploration, and the joys of science fiction. The tour is accompanied by an optional workshop that helps engage the audience with the story and the magic of the production.

 

While embracing a steam-punk feel, the design pulls largely from found and recognizable objects. The time machine itself is built from recycled and reused items, from bicycle parts to hot sauce bottles, making ordinary objects into something more fascinating. The time machine unit also functions as a well, a rock slab and a bench through the production to minimize set pieces and optimize transportation to various locations. PVC "wings" and costume racks accompany the set pieces to accommodate changes.

This is just a sample of my work. To see more or discuss possible projects >>