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Over my time with the Red One Collective, I built and designed over half a dozen shows from April 2014 to December 2015; Contractions, Cockfight, Retreat, Human Furniture, Dangerous Liaisons, Liver, House of Yes and The Castle using the ramshackle Storefront Theatre as a sort of lab to experiment with material, resources, other artists, and my own abilities and imagination. It was a fruitful time that produced both success and failure, but that gave me a kind of freedom I've not since had. Some shows were carefully considered over months, others assembled on a dare, but all were unique to the time and place, and served as an education unto themselves.

Below are some of my favorite productions.

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September 2015

We built a revolve out of a repurposed donut-shaped platform to achieve the quick transition between the bedroom and the living room, rather than divide the space in two (as the script suggests). The revolve, which was moved by the actors by hand, created a dizzying effect and moved the streamers above, so that every transition had a kinetic, lived quality that reflected the main character's psychological mania as well as the hurricane outside. We added a fan to blow the strips during scenes of heightened emotion.

Performed at the Storefront Theatre, Toronto
PLAYWRIGHT:   Wendy MacLeod
DIRECTOR:   Benjamin Blais
SCENOGRAPHY (S/C):   Claire Hill
LIGHTING:   Melissa Joakim
FEATURING:   Jakob Ehman, Joanne Kelly, Karen Knox, Carter Hayden, Joy Tanner
PHOTOGRAPHY:   John Gundy

Assembling the revolve and set

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January 2015

On a dare from Red One Artistic Director Benjamin Blais, I accepted the challenge of designing this set for "as little money as possible" using what we had around the building and could beg, borrow and steal from friends and collaborators. The design evolved organically, as I went in week after week with materials I found to experiment with looks to create an elegant and foreboding environment. After paint and a few expenses, we came in at $150 spent.

Performed at the Storefront Theatre
PLAYWRIGHT:   Christopher Hampton
DIRECTOR:   Jakob Ehman
SET:   Claire Hill
COSTUMES:   Holly Lloyd
MAKEUP:   Angela McQueen
LIGHTING:   Jareth Li
SOUND & LIVE MUSIC:   Jason O'Brien
FEATURING:   Daniel Briere, Edward Charette, Deborah Joy, Karen Knox, Kat Letwin, Brenhan McKibbon, Caroline Toal
PHOTOGRAPHY:  John Gundy

Design Process


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June 2014

A co-production with Theatre Brouhaha

Kat Sandler's play was set in a run-down apartment, and to emulate the effect of a fight in a chicken-fighting ring, she chose to stage it in the round. We brought in sand, for when the characters make a literal cock-fight ring, and had it built mid-play by the actors. The screen fencing in the grid closed the space in, and directed the action towards the ring. Although it doubled as the Chiavetti brother's apartment, it became clear that it was also the pyschological landscape their poverty and relative lack of status in life left them in.

Performed at the Storefront Theatre, Toronto
PLAYWRIGHT & DIRECTOR:   Kat Sandler
DRAMATURGE:   Tom McGee
SCENOGRAPHY (S):   Claire Hill
COSTUMES:    Holly Lloyd
LIGHTING:    Melissa Joakim
SOUND:   Jason O'Brien
FEATURING:   Jakob Ehman, Brenhan Mc Kibbon, Benjamin Blais, Caroline Toal, David Tompa
PHOTOGRAPHY:   Chris DePaul

Trailer


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May 2014

My first project with the Red One Collecitve. The action of this play takes place in an office of the not-too-distant future. Creatively, we were interested in expressing the drabness of corporate life, and in generating something that would work as the play transitions from a believable situation to an Orwellian one. For the walls, we used cardboard because it allowed us to create texture, curved lines and suggested a lack of permanence. The projections and lighting, by Melissa Joakim, gave it an otherworldly, corporate feel during transitions.

Performed at the Storefront Theatre, Toronto

PLAYWRIGHT:  Mike Bartlett
DIRECTOR:  Jeannette Lambermont-Morey
SCENOGRAPHY:  Claire Hill
LIGHTING & PROJECTIONS:  Melissa Joakim
SOUND COMPOSITION:  Dimitar Pentchev
FEATURING:  Harmonie Tower & Catherine McNally
PHOTOGRAPHY:  John Gundy

Inspiration & Process

Director Jeannette Lambermont-Morey and I were interested in turning the Storefront theatre into an unrecognizable corporate space. Rather than create a literal office with cubicles, we chose to create a confusing, snake like structure that the protagonist has to journey through every time she needs to reach her superior. In the interest of making it organic and circular, I realized I could use a large sheet of cardboard roll to dress the room. This was not only economical, but provided an interesting texture and projection surface for M. Joakim's projections, which were needed to fill in the scene breaks.

Click on images to enlarge and read descriptions.


Other works