Clown Mood Board
Since the phobia is clowns, I made the set in the theme of a carnival. People with Coulrophobia are scared of the look of clowns, but also the fact that someone is hiding behind a mask/costume. The carnival scene is to convey the fear of constantly being surrounded by clowns, since in a carnival, you often will find clowns.
Front View of Final Set
To start off, when you enter the stage through the front you immediately walk onto a large tongue, coming from the large clown walkway. You can infer that once you walk into the mouth, it would be a circus. On the top left, there is a flashy ‘freaks’ sign, with a ticket booth right below. Peeping in, there is a clown selling the tickets. Lastly looking towards the right, you also see a popcorn stand and a small sign besides, pointing at the clown masks for sale. The ground is covered in sawdust to represent the woodchip like texture in an actual circus.
Describing the Elements
Left 3/4 View of Final Stage
This set is in place of a thrust stage. I chose this style of theatre because it allows for the most detail in the set, without compromising the audience’s experience. With a thrust, the clown archway, and two large props (popcorn stand and ticket booth) can be used effectively. With the props off to the side, it gives the set a more realistic scene, conveying the most fear without obstructing the audiences view, or distracting them from the main act. For example, if it was theatre in the round, none of these props can be used because it will block the audience’s view. This will limit the fear factor and the atmosphere of the set.
Another aspect that was highly considered was the color scheme. Colors often convey specific emotions and create an atmosphere. From the mood board (shown above in this PJ), there were many dark colors, including reds, and blacks. This resulted in the dark red color scheme of the entire set. Red often symbolize power and fear, which is what this set was intended to portray. By including these colors, it creates a dark atmosphere.
The biggest part of this set is the large scary-looking clown head archway. This is supposed to be the entrance to the circus tent (as displayed in the white and red tent stripes in the back). This would be really scary to someone with coulrophobia, as walking into a set will target their fears of clowns but also masks at the same time.
On the top left, there is a freaks sign. This further adds to the eeriness of the set. Historically, the word freaks used in the context of a circus was because there used to be freak shows. By adding this sign, it gives the entire set a run-down, older look which is associated more with fear (when someone has coulrophobia, they are more scared of ‘run-down’, abandoned looks and clowns rather than a new, modern look).
On the left side of the stage, there is a ticket booth. By charging the tickets for 5 cents, this also gives the set an older look, more historically accurate. The ticket seller is also a clown- which would strike fear in anyone as this gives of intimidating and lurking fear.
On the right, there is also a popcorn stand. On it, there are masks for sale (as clarified with the small sign beside), as often sold at amusement parks. Because people with coulrophobia are scared of the fact that someone is hiding behind a costume/mask that looks like a clown, the sale of more masks is scary because this insinuates there are more clowns around.
Successes and Improvements
Top View of Final Set
I think something I was successful at was constructing the popcorn and ticket stands. Because these two props are rather small and difficult to make, the 3D aspect was a challenge. These two props also included a plastic film (mimicking glass), which was also difficult to complete because the hot glue would sometimes fog the plastic, making it translucent (unintended), however with practice I was able to use the hot glue without leaving any streams or blobs, and without fogging up the plastic sheet.
Something I wished was better was the clown archway. In the design, I wanted a larger, crazier-looking smile (such as the Joker smile). However, I overestimated my abilities to build with clay and the clown ended up looking less ‘happy’ but more neutral. Another aspect I could improve on is the flooring. I wanted to cover it using sawdust to give it the woodchip look, however halfway I ran out of sawdust. This resulted in some uneven, bald spots in the set which could make the overall scene look less put together.
From this project I learned a few things about theatre design. Firstly, how set designers first build a mini model of their set. I can see how this helps them, and other people visualize and understand the final, intended outcome. Another is the design process. Every part of a set is thoroughly thought out, and the designed made everything look a certain way for a reason. This emphasizes how much thought and work it goes into making an actual, full size set. This also made me realize how time consuming the process is. From brainstorming, drawing, constructing to making the actual set takes a long period of time. We even took many class periods to only make a small mini model, and yet there are still many aspects of the design that can be heavily improved and altered to be more profesional. This might help me in my future, if I wanted to do scene design. This will give me some more experience I can use!