Tell us a little bit about the set design for Exit Strategy.
The play takes place primarily in the teachers lounge of a dilapidated public school in Chicago. So we dove into creating this environment as realistically as we were able. The play asks for that naturalism. I had the opportunity to go and visit some Chicago high schools, take photographs, etc. – so the materials and layout of the space came from that investigation.
What is your favorite part of the set?
It’s hard to pinpoint a singular, favorite part – but I did love wrestling with, and creating all of the little details that add up and round out the verisimilitude of this room. Thinking through the material choices, the right pieces of furniture, set dressing, etc. It was an exercise in specificity and patience in continuing to search.
Tell us a little about the process of designing the set to be used in (and moved between) Philadelphia and The Cherry Lane Theatre in New York.
That was the trickiest part of this process. They are two very different spaces that have different proportions, audience relationships, and design challenges. And tearing down and rebuilding scenery is always tricky – things get beat up, change, need re-configuring. Supporting the play in the two different spaces was an exciting challenge.
The set is quite detailed. What’s something that the audience may not notice right away, but should keep and eye out for when they see Exit Strategy.
Maybe the paper-products in the dressing? The teachers-union announcements, the posters, the recycling directions… [they’re all] straight from the source.
The Primary Stages production of Exit Strategy by Ike Holter is running now through May 6, 2016 at The Cherry Lane Theatre. For more information and tickets, visit our website.