UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Designing a Playground for Romeo and Juliet Espinoza Vaca, Ana Luisa


The production of Romeo and Juliet took place at the Telus Theatre in Vancouver from 21st to the 30th of January 2010 as part of the UBC 2009-2010 program. It was directed by Catriona Leger, costumes by Carmen Alatorre, lighting by Conor Moore, original music by Mischelle Cuttler and Patrick Pennefather. Set design was done by myself as the main topic for this thesis. The word playground in the title points to both the play culture associated with the theatrical event as well as well as the physical space for play. Building off of the notion of the childhood playground, I sought to illuminate the theatrical space as one which is literally a place of play-not only as a space in which one views a play, but also a space for actors to physically play (that is to explore and create). The stage would not be a constricting place which limits the actors movements, but rather, a flexible and open space to perform ( a necessity, given the physicality of the show). The playground is for kids as the playground is for buffoons in my set. As I desired to deviate from the traditional notions of theatrical space, I also sought to break the conventions of traditions of Shakespearean staging, creating a non specific place or time and inviting the spectators into the sense of festivity. The shape of the theatre in combination with the design allowed for the actors to use the whole space whether it is in or between the audience, on top of a balcony or in the grid. Since this side-play was a necessary factor in eliminating the fourth wall, the space needed to be a seem-less integration between audience and actor to facilitate such interaction. Thus, the set was designed to crawl into the audience's space. By extending the existing architectural elements of the theatre and working them into the design the theatre became an unencumbered, expansive space for play.

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