DROPPING KNOWLEDGE: “Great Moment’s” Extraordinary Set

Director Sean Daniels knew that The Making of a Great Moment would need a certain… theatrical touch for its set. The show, after all, is all about actors.

Oh, and also: the show doesn’t stay in one place for long. The action whisks us from auditoriums to campsites to the open road in quick succession.

The answer he and scenic designer Apollo Weaver came up with:

Drops—or two dimensional painted scenery that sits behind the stage action.


Weaver and associates Sam Holderlein, Emily Holm, and Allie Herryman (pictured above) painted every drop by hand.

The “Curtain Drops” used in performance. Danny Scheie and Aysan Celik, Photo by Meghan Moore.

They are simple in concept, but tricky to create: says Weaver, “You can’t really rely on anything else. It’s just the image… you’re really relying on graphic skills, and doing a lot of visual tricks.”


The “Camping” drop, designed by Weaver



And not only did Weaver have to mix 3-dimensonal realism with a 2-dimensional theatrical sensibility in an extraordinary feat of hand-painting skill – but he also had to figure out a way to bring them on and off MRT’s stage.


The “Biking” Drop. Danny Scheie and Aysan Celik, Photo by Meghan Moore.



Many theatres have fly space above the stage, where scenery is stored before being “flown in.”  But MRT has no such fly space. Instead, Weaver found three ingenious solutions:

  • Some drops are fixed to a frame which slides in from the side
  • Some are rolled and unrolled from above, like a window shade
  • And some of the drops are sealed in a loop and wrapped around rollers, which rotate to create a movement effect.

Come see it for yourself!

The Making of a Great Moment runs January 4 – 29.




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