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  • Writer's pictureAngharadSeren

Set Design for The Seven Acts of Mercy

This terms project has been to design a set for the play 'The Seven Acts of Mercy' by Anders Lustgarten. This is a complicated play to design for as it has more than one settings - a church in Naples and various places in Liverpool (a flat, food bank and betting shop being some of the scene locations).

We began by researching different churches such as ones in Italy as well as local churches/cathedrals. However, one of my main influences for this project was the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. I took inspiration from this church for the stain glass windows, arches and sculptures located on the outside of the building. I struggled at the start of this project to think of a setting that would work for all scenes so I decided to look into the possibility of lighting to distinguish between each scene. For example the set that I designed would have three big arches at the back that would be clear when not lit. However with different coloured lights these arches would look like the stain glass windows for the scenes in Naples and with a white wash they would look like normal windows for the scenes in the Bootle flat.

After looking at this idea I decided to look at other ways to make various props have more than one purpose. For example I decided to design a ladder that could be used for the Naples scenes to show the construction of the building but instead of having to take set off of the stage this would change into a bookshelf for the flat scene. In a similar way scaffolding for the Naples scenes would become shelving for boxes in the food bank.

To give myself a clearer understanding of all the set changes and the lighting cues for each scene I created a first draft of a storyboard using photoshop.

As you can see I also decided to use some projections in my design. I believe that this also makes scene changes much easier as I could project onto the canvas to show the different paintings spoken about in the play. When a painting isn't being discussed I would also use the canvas as a way to project the acts of mercy as Mickey carries them out.

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