"Important question....what colour would you like the set painted?"
Director Kerry Girdwood gazed up at the ceiling, pondering, visualising the set.
Ivory, someone suggested.
"Well...yes...perhaps cream, off white...well, a white that's not a white if that makes sense."
We were talking about the set for Middle Age Spread, a play which takes place largely in the home of Colin and Elizabeth, middle-aged, middle-class and fairly conservative.
I wondered about Elizabeth, avid reader of House and Garden magazines, striving to get it right. Was she very bright? Had her intellectual development been stymied by the need or the societal expectation to stay at home caring for the children, the traditional wife and mother?
Whatever the answer is, she wants to maintain a 'tasteful' home rather than create a stimulating environment.
When next door neighbour Reg appears he comments on the landscapes adorning the walls, so the props manager was sent off on a mission to second hand shops to buy landscapes. Is this too big? Is this colourful enough? If it's faded the stage light will leach any remaining colour from it.
Costume is important too. What would Judy wear? She's younger than the other two women, fairly clever and feeds Colin's hunger for art and literature as well as sex. Their relationship is more than physical, meeting emotional needs that neither feel are met in their marriages. Surely she'll wear something eye-catching, trendy and smart, whereas Elizabeth 'the wife' won't wear anything as interesting.
I'm predicting that the men will be dressed fairly conservatively (a school principal, an accountant), probably in suits, but Reg the tertiary lecturer will probably wear something a bit more adventurous as befits a self -styled 'lady killer'.
Whatever the outcome of these discussions it will be interesting to see how the set and the characters are dressed. Although we're not always aware of it we are often influenced by sound, which also plays a significant part in creating atmosphere.
I'm just attempting to point out to those not involved in theatre that a great deal of time, effort, and often money is spent in the production of a stage show. Normally there are six weeks of rehearsal, character analyses, discussion about motivations, appropriate set, costumes and props and more people working backstage than on stage.
There's nothing 'flash' about a flash mob. Impressive? Yes. Spontaneous? No. There are weeks of well-thought out rehearsals preceding public presentation, but it's an absorbing hobby in which life-long friendships are forged.