UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A Dybbuk : between two worlds Shtern, Yulia


In the early spring of 2007 I was approached by the then directorial MFA candidate David Savoy with a request to design the scenery for his thesis production A Dybbuk by S. Ansky in an adaptation by Tony Kushner, and I accepted his offer. The other members of the design team were Ariel Rivera for Costume Design (a BFA Design and Production graduate), Ian Giles for Lighting Design (a BFA Design and Production graduate) and Jason Ho for Sound Design (a BFA Design and Production student). The original songs and music were composed by Patrick Pennefather and performed by the Creaking Planks. The production was Stage Managed by the BFA Design and Production student Cassandra Tattrie. It ran from March 27 to April 5, 2008 at the Frederic Wood Theatre. The challenges of designing the scenery for this production lay in accommodating a cast of eighteen actors that played over thirty different characters, as well as a live klezmer band that performed onstage throughout the play. Our idea was to create stationary scenery that would present the necessary imagery for all the environments of the play without having to perform large scene changes. We were also determined not to have stage hands visible to the audience, which meant that all the scene changes and the traffic of properties was to be managed by the actors themselves. The locations where the action of the play took place were the old synagogue in Brinnitz, a Brinnitz square outside of Sender’s home, a train station near the Jewish Ghetto in Miropol and Rabbi Azriel’s study in Miropol. My goal was to create an overall environment that would provide an emotional and cultural subtext for the play and create the basic structure sufficient to suggest all of these locations in such a way that they could be identified and interpreted both by the audience members familiar with the Eastern European Jewish culture and by those new to it.

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