MFS Woodshop teacher, Michael Webster, and his Set Design students took on a huge challenge with the larger-than-life set for this year’s Winter Play.
Director Angela Wertner and the MFS Drama Department had already chosen an ambitious project with The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), a production including actors playing up to 3 different roles and even audience interaction.
Still, Mr. Webster kicked it up another notch with his complex set structures. The structure features 4 new entryways, 3 separate platforms, 2 flights of stairs, an extension of the stage and a few other surprise aspects.
This may seem like a lot to construct, but when asked about this, Mr. Webster said that the structure of the Set Design course allowed for such a big undertaking: “We started building this in January, so because of that extra time, we figured that we would try to do something a little more ambitious than usual.”
Sophomore Eli Gamber, a student in Mr. Webster’s Set Design course, said it was a bit difficult to bring everyone’s ideas to life in time, but luckily, the construction didn’t conflict with their schoolwork: “Webby’s really good at being organized, so it was helpful that we could do almost all of the work in class.”
The purpose of a set like this one is to enhance a performance for the audience and the actors and Mr. Webster created one huge playground for the student actors involved. As for audience perception, he said he wanted the genre of the show to bleed into the set as well: “[A part of that was] trying to create some elements that were comedic and could be used for comedic effect in the actual set design.”
Mr. Webster, as well as the students involved, even researched how actors worked off of sets in silent films in order to make sure that the crazy dramatics of Complete Works was shown through the ways actors used set pieces throughout the show.
These efforts were well appreciated by the cast.
Sophomore Cameron Stirner, who portrays Benvolio and Claudius in the production, said, “With such an ambitious set that has multiple layers, staircases, [and] a thrust out into the audience, I really think it’s gonna increase audience engagement and make it more fun for the actors onstage.”
Junior Caroline Cook, who will perform as Titus Andronicus and Hamlet this weekend, told WordsWorth, “I like [that it’s] something different and we’ve never had anything like it before, so it’s fun to get to learn how to use it.”
Unfortunately, Mr. Webster will be leaving MFS next year, as we announced last week, so as of now there is no news of what will become of the Set Design minor in the 2017-18 school year.
To see the final product of the MFS community’s work onstage and off, purchase tickets for the Winter Play at www.mfs.booktix.com.