MICHAEL GLICKSMAN: Inventing a Person (with stuff!)

So here’s what I think is neat: we’re inventing a person, and her name is Caroline.

Of course, credit for that invention can’t go to just one person. Playwright Lauren Gunderson wrote this quirky spitfire of a teenage girl. Director Sean Daniels helps steer her development. Actress Kayla Ferguson literally breathes her alive, gives her tantrums and vulnerability and funny faces.

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Kayla Ferguson as Caroline. Photo by Meghan Moore.

But one of my favorite ways that we’re inventing Caroline is in something that happens in theatre called set dressing.

Caroline is a teenager (and we all know what that’s like), and this play is set in her room. Remember being there, in your bedroom, or whatever the space was that you called “yours” at that time in your life? It’s amazing how much those spaces mean to us, especially when we’re that age—how badly we want them be a projection of our souls, our selves. Mine was covered with theatre posters and small turtles. (And look! I still have a turtle mousepad at my desk!)

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I’ll bet you remember your room too.

But I digress. Set dressing is the art of taking a theatre set, and splashing it with all the stuff that gives it character, nuance, familiarity. So when the set designer (Michael Carnahan) and props manager (Amanda Williams) work together on making what’s just a room into Caroline’s room, they’re helping to invent Caroline too.

In the preface to the script for I and You, Lauren describes the setting simply but evocatively:

“A girl’s room, but not girly. Lots of tech.”

So the task for us at MRT is to capture that, AND to put our own special spin on it. Set dressing began last Wednesday night, and we really start to see Caroline become real, literally coming out of the walls. Amanda has gathered a ton of stuff that’s sitting in the MRT lobby, ready to be added (or not) to the amassing collection of objects, posters, furniture, and gadgets onstage:

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Props manager Amanda Williams with a batch of stuff ready to go onstage (or not).

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Early set dressing on Caroline’s wall

It all deepens our understanding of who this girl is—and maybe a bit of who we are as well.

-Michael Glicksman, MRT Marketing Associate

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