Saturday, Dec. 11, 2010

A Vaguely Sarcastic Set

Continuing Visual Impressions of The Boulevards Latest Show

By Russ Bickerstaff
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It’s been over a  week since I was at the Boulevard Theatre to see its production of The Savannah Disputation. The smart religious comedy rendered much more detail to the intimate space of the Boulevard Theatre than any other production in recent memory.

The Writer’s Theatre in Illinois has an interesting bit of text about the specific visual feel that the playwright was envisioning for a comedy largely centered on conversations that have little to do with the setting. The playwright’s description of “wooden floors, off-white walls and little furniture, with various Catholic imagery here and there,” are brought into the space of the cozy space of the Boulevard with remarkable detail by scenic charge Andrea Toussaint, who painted wood grain floorboards over existing wood grain to develop what felt like an almost sarcastic visual effect. She’d also painted the walls. Normaly when an audience is seeing painted walls with this level of detail on a set, it’s pretty far away from the audience. With the Boulevard’s space being as intimate as it is. One is almost enveloped in a space that’s been painted with a great deal of detail. The effect is interesting—it’s vaguely like sitting down inside a painting with actual people in costume interacting with authentic props. The wood beams on the walls that Toussaint painted were put there by Holly Blomquist, who also did the lights. The religious iconography which populates the place was evidently a group effort, with numerous people involved in the production providing various elements.

Boulevard Theatre’s The Savannah Disputation runs through January 16th. Call 414-744-5757 for reservations. 

 

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