Sex With Strangers Lobby Display for Geva Theatre Center
- Sex With Strangers was Geva’s fourth presentation of a production from Kitchen Theatre Company in Ithaca. To celebrate the two theatres’ long-standing relationship, the Literary Department decided to use the lobby display case to demonstrate how Geva’s staff helped the production transition between the two theatres.
- The Scene & Context poster, with gorgeous graphic design by Amanda Riekstins, serves to help transition the audience from Sex With Strangers’ steamy reputation, to the intellectual core of the play. Since one of the play’s main themes is the debate over whether self-published literature is “legitimate,” I offered a list of (originally) self-published titles that ultimately became bestsellers, much like Ethan’s fictional Sex With Strangers series. Because romance and erotica are two of the most popular genres in the self-published sphere, we could create a poster with lots of sexy book covers that match the tone of the play.
Seven Guitars Lobby Display, plus Actor/Designer Hill District Tour and Pittsburgh Playhouse Collaboration
- I built this display in a large glass presentation cube. The main focal point of the display featured a “scene” from the backyard setting, inspired by the set and key props from our production.
- On another side of the cube, I compiled three timelines comparing August Wilson’s life and cycle with civil rights advancements. For the full text of these timelines, click here: August Wilson Timelines
- On the final side of the cube, I featured pictures of Pittsburgh and the Hill District contrasting the 1940s and now. This included “flip panels,” with 1940s photos of Pittsburgh icons that lift to reveal their contemporary counterparts. I also included photos from our company tour of the Hill District with Christopher Rawson, a local August Wilson expert and former friend of the late playwright.
- I also placed scripts from the other plays in Wilson’s cycle around the lobby, for patrons to peruse and experience the magnitude of the complete Century Cycle. On the cover of each binder with a script, I included a synopsis of the play and production photos from the Pittsburgh Public Theatre (which has produced every play in Wilson’s Century Cycle). Here are five of those script covers:
Steubenville Information from Community Groups and “Comfort Station”
- The Steubenville team was keen on having a relaxing atmosphere in the lobby where audience members could decompress after the show and/or seek professional help or advice if needed. Thanks to our generous sponsorship from University Health Services, we were able to provide free refreshments in the lobby to create a relaxed environment. We also had members of CMU’s Survivor Support Network, an organization trained to assist survivors of relationship violence and educate the community about rape and domestic violence, available during and after each performance to answer questions and provide support if needed. Flyers and other resources directed audience members to sexual violence prevention centers in Pittsburgh. We also displayed a copy of I ❤ Female Orgasm, a sex-positive book referenced in the play.
Kafala Post-Show Cultural Tables
- After Kafala, a new play by Andrea Beschel about migrant Filipina workers in Kuwait, I invited the Filipino American Association of Pittsburgh (FAAP) and the Carnegie Mellon Arab Student Organization (ASO) to host cultural tables celebrating Filipino and Arab culture. These organizations were also a huge help to us as we developed Kafala. They helped us translate some of the dialogue into Tagalog and Arabic, respectively, and taught the actors how to pronounce the translated scenes. The FAAP and ASO also consulted with the whole creative team to teach us about their cultures and helped us create respectful, accurate portrayals of Filipinos and Kuwaitis.
Jack Klugman Memorial Display
- Upon the actor’s passing, I curated and designed a display to honor the life and work of CMU alumnus Jack Klugman. The display hung in the main lobby of the School of Drama’s Purnell Center for the Arts.