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Class Interview With Scenic Designer Kate Miller

974 words - 4 pages

Scenic Designer, Karen Miller, has designed over one hundred theatrical productions and various scenic projects dealing with theme parks and local theatres. She attained her Masters of Fine Arts from the Mason Gross School of Arts at Rutgers University in New Jersey. In a successful attempt to broaden her skills and knowledge through experience, she was a freelance designer for approximately ten years. Currently, Ms. Miller is the as Vice President of Design and Construction for SRO Associates in which she has been tasked in large construction projects including designing shows at Six Flags Fiesta Texas and Sea World. In addition, she has been a member of United Scenic Artists since 1998. Ms. Karen Miller delighted my class with an interview session in which out theatre class wrote down a list of questions and she answered them with her personal experiences and opinions.
My question to Karen Miller was: “What was the most complex scene you designed? Why was it difficult?” She responded that most of the complexity stems from struggling to accommodate a set in a venue that is not made for it. In order to explain further, she used an example for a show she designed at Hershey Park in a small proscenium theatre. In addition to fitting two detailed sets in a small area, she also used a fly loft—a system of lines that enables quiet and quick fly of components or people across the stage. In the end, Karen had to make a part of the flying scenery for one set fly through the middle of the flying scenery from the other set because performers needed to space to move around. Though it was difficult to depict this image in my mind, I understand the complexity of lines and counterweights running through a two sets built on one small stage. With my experience watching Lost in Yonkers, they kitchen had plenty of space but I believe the scenic designer had difficulty cramming the props for the living room in the tiny space in upstage-center. Subsequently, I believe it is logical to state that a complex set does not directly link to being difficult. The difficulty of a scenic design relies on the correlation between the size of the stage and the complexity of the set.
Likewise, when Ms. Miller was asked if there was a particular set or environment is complex to design, she expressed that its complexity is not based on the type of environment and set but the complexity of the production itself. Karen Miller is suggesting, when she discusses “complexity of a production,” the amount of scene changes and the utilization of the space implicate the complexity. Essentially, if the crews are constantly changing the set because of scene changes then the scenic designs cannot be completely stationary and must be easy to maneuver quickly and promptly. Complex productions require rapid scene changes and...

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