INSPIRATION & COLLABORATION
” Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
Inspiration can come from many sources. When I’m directing, often I’ll begin with an image or piece of art before embarking on the design process. It’s usually something I feel will capture the mood or tone of a particular piece. The above image is from a production I directed of “Enchanted April” at Madcow Theater Company. In the early stages of pre-production I began meditating on Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss. At our first production meeting, I shared some of Klimt’s images with Set Designer, Doug Houston. As we were discussing the design for the second act, which is set in a garden off the Castle Brown in Portofino Italy, I made the snarky remark “let’s not let this design become a sad version of the Olive Garden”. He smiled at me but I could see the creative wheels turning beneath his understanding grin.
Less then a week later, he shared his vision through a model which he constructed. It was an homage to Klimt’s creative vocabulary, deconstructing a series of his paintings over various panels of the set. As we drew closer to open, Scenic Designer Liza Buck began painting the panels, using Klimt as a source of inspiration but not imitation. Cue Allan Overlander’s luscious Lighting Design to add texture and contrast along with the natural elements we needed to complete the environment.
Inspiration in the design process must be a shared experience. It must be collaborative. It’s the collective impulse that informs the creative team which way they are headed and allows for a true marriage of the elements.