My nightmare design was supposed to be a demolished world where monsters have destroyed everything. I created broken ceilings, zombies emerging from the ground and a dragon appearing from a building. My idea originally came from my nightmare of the dragon in The Hobbit. I built upon the dragon and added many more beasts into the nightmare. The shredded pieces of newspaper in the back are rubble, the newspaper coming from the dragon’s mouth is supposed to be fire and the backdrop is abstract lines to give an atmosphere that conveys fear, mystery and darkness.
I think I was successful in creating my nightmare world in the sense that all of my characters were recognizable to my audience. For example, my dragon looked like a dragon, the zombies looked like zombies, etc. I’m not sure if the stage design evoked any fear from my audience but I feel that if I was put into the world that I created, I would be terrified.
Through the process of creating this design, I learned a lot about the materials I was working with. I realized that in order to create the effect of something emerging from the ground or from the ceiling, I could use a blade to cut the cardboard into flaps and peel the flaps up using my hands. I learned through making the bat that you could create an illusion that something was floating or flying by using thin wires to hold it up. Being more familiar with the materials was only part of what I learned through this project. I also became more knowledgeable about my own skills and limits. I knew what types of things I could draw and what things I couldn’t. I learned which materials were right for which tasks.
To further develop this nightmare world, I think I could make more set pieces and scenery instead of spending so much time on my characters. Most of my buildings were at one height so I think I could create more levels within my piece for actors to be on.
This other design was made by Sabrina Lam. You can see the end of an alleyway and two eyes on a brick wall, watching you. There is trash in the bottom corner, blood splattered all over the walls and cobwebs across the design. This design makes me feel like someone is watching and judging me at all times and the eyes really help give us that feeling. The color scheme of red and brown work well together to give us a feeling of fear and violence. The big X written on the floor of the stage makes the audience feel as if it’s “the end” or something bad is about to happen there.
For me, I feel like this piece is extremely symbolic and is free for the audience’s interpretation. In my piece, the fear was quite literal because of all the monsters. In Sabrina’s design, instead of making literal things to scare you, the scary thing is the things that have happened in the alleyway. Many of the things people fear are potential things that could happen. By spray painting blood and red everywhere, the audience can infer whatever they want about what has happened in this alleyway. The X on the ground itself is not scary but what it could symbolize is what makes the piece so terrifying. The way Sabrina induces fear using this stage is by putting set piece that would indirectly scare the audience and that is what is unique about her nightmare world.
Sabrina’s design was very successful both technically and for the purpose of this task. Her was both original and scared people. Her set pieces were very well made like the trash cans. They look like trash cans and also give chances for actors to enter from them. The cobwebs are very well arranged and cleverly used to enhance her design. She was smart with her materials and was able to work around the problems she encountered when running out of red paint.
Although this nightmare world is already very well designed, there are two things that could be added and would complement the stage design. One thing is that she could add more places for actors to enter. When making our nightmare world, we can’t forget that this is a stage design and things need to be strategically placed to help the actors. In the design, the only place actors can make entrances from are the trash cans since the rest of the stage is blocked off by the two walls. I know that the idea was to make the alleyway a dead end and there was no escape, but it would be nice if she had hidden doors for actors to enter. Another thing she could add is some things hanging from the cover. Although the picture doesn’t show it, there is meant to be a cover over the design to make the alleyway darker and more mysterious. If there were things hanging from the ceiling (dead people? Bats? Spiders?), that would make the design more interesting.
In short, this project was extremely fun to do. We were granted a lot of freedom to design whatever we wanted. We were able to use all the different materials provided to us and now, we have a better understanding of which materials can create what types of effects. We all got a chance to express our creativity and imagination and I think the things we learned from this are valuable lessons we can keep with us whenever we are designing.