Riverside Theatre will current a manufacturing in contrast to any of their earlier performs this weekend. Sonnets for a New Century is about in a just about rendered afterlife.
Riverside’s latest digital play, Sonnets for an Outdated Century, was filmed utilizing a inexperienced display to make an formidable set design a actuality. After seeing the sci-fi-esque ultimate product, one could also be shocked to be taught that the set started as a miniature mannequin constituted of faux jewels from Michael’s Crafts and sticks from Kentucky.
The play was tailored from a ebook of monologues of the identical title by creator José Rivera. Whereas the ebook has no official setting, every monologue is from an individual in an unfamiliar afterlife.
Scenic designer S. Benjamin Farrar stated he had envisioned engaged on a present with a novel digital setting for some time now. Taking stylistic inspiration from Jim Henson and the claymation methods of Implausible Mr. Fox, he started working on the otherworldly mannequin whereas on a visit to go to his dad and mom in Kentucky.
He additionally drew inspiration from the start of Dante’s Inferno, when Dante is strolling by means of a forest earlier than reaching the underworld.
“I at all times discovered that forest to be actually bizarre, as a result of it’s not a forest that’s actually on Earth, it’s this liminal house between Earth and the afterlife,” he stated. “It’s not like you may simply stroll there, however in some way you will discover your self there.”
Farrar needed the areas within the play to have natural and inorganic elements to create an otherworldly ambiance, so he used each sorts of supplies in his to-scale mannequin.
The mannequin not solely materialized his creative imaginative and prescient, but in addition displayed the scale of actors and props in relation to the world he created.
“I discover one thing very magical about that,” Farrar stated. “About enjoying with scale, and pretending issues are greater than they’re, and enjoying with distance.”
Assistant Director and actress Crystal Marie Stewart stated she believes Farrar achieved his targets for the set.
“I’ve been actually shocked by how cool they made it look,” Stewart stated. “We have now a finances, however we don’t have like a Marvel or Disney finances.”
Stewart has labored with inexperienced screens previously whereas taking theater courses on the College of Iowa, however her expertise differed from an unique world being dropped at the display.
For a lot of elements of the present, Stewart needed to belief that the whole lot would come collectively regardless of not having the ability to see the completed product.
“There have been some actors who have been struggling over Zoom, however lit up in individual,” she stated. “So lots of them have been simply completely satisfied to have the ability to return to theater once more.”
Whereas there have been areas of uncertainty and unfamiliarity, Stewart stated she had no hassle diving into the world of Sonnets for a New Century.
“It wasn’t a tough headspace for me to get into solely as a result of I’m an enormous nerd,” she stated. “I feel I used to be one of many first folks to check it to The Twilight Zone.”
Adam Knight, Riverside’s Producing Creative Director, agreed that the present has an analogous really feel to the customarily dystopian, sci-fi TV collection.
He stated he felt thrilled to have the chance to play with scenic design in a method that they couldn’t for a reside efficiency and that they explored the legal guidelines of physics and time utilizing the inexperienced display and a mixture of sensible and technical results.
“It’s form of rewriting the principles of what theater is,” Knight stated. “That stated, I hope that this manufacturing works the way in which a play works. Movie typically fills in the entire gaps of our creativeness, whereas our intent with this play is to spark the creativeness of the viewers.”
Actor Christopher Okiishi stated his creativeness was sparked by the manufacturing.
“I needed to think about what it could be like to seek out your self lifeless, and what you’d ask about if there was somebody there to ask inquiries to,” he stated. “I additionally needed to put myself within the headspace of somebody who was fascinated with the complexities of our common existence.”
He stated he thinks that every one viewers members will discover one thing that pursuits them in a minimum of one monologue.
“Whenever you’re doing monologues like this, it’s everywhere in the map,” Okiishi stated. “They’re about so many alternative issues and provides so many alternative views.”
Sonnets for an Outdated Century will likely be streamable by means of Riverside’s web site starting April 9.