The Playboy of the Western World a play by John Millington Synge

Act 1 (Pegeen and Christy)

Christy and Widow Quinn play DS
Christy impresses the lasses (walls allow light through)
The set in "Night" lighting
Process Materials
(Click to see larger image)
A final sketch
1/4" Model
Production Credits

Miami University - Gates Abegglen Theatre
Oxford, OH
Fall 2003

Directed by Martin Bennison
Costumes by Lin Conaway
Lighting by Gina Neuerer

Design Approach

Synge sets Playboy in a single room with a door to outside, a door to the interior of the house, and windows to the outside. It’s seems like the perfect set-up for a box set. Except that Synge was a poet who writes a heightened style of language. There is a poetic realism to his dialogue and his characters. What’s more, Synge is writing about the land. The traditional box set excludes us from seeing the environment.

As we approached this production, we discussed ways to overcome the conventions of realism. The director encouraged the creative team to pursue the “fantastic.” So, while there is still a sense of the box set, I’ve tried not to create the total illusion that you’re looking into a real place. The walls are covered in burlap, allowing a little light to spill through when lit in silhouette. More significantly, you have the advantage of seeing a bit of the outside.This part of Ireland is not lush and green. It’s desolate and rocky. It greatly impacts who these characters are.Martin enjoyed the idea of seenig them outside, staging the viewing of the race and the awarding of the prizes outdoors. A playing area DS of the set (extending over our orchestra pit) was large enough to accommodate this.

Scene design copywrighted 2003 by Gion DeFrancesco