The Chinese Room
Williamstown Theatre Festival
Scenic Design by Dane Laffrey
A living room complete with grand fireplace leads the eye to a hallway guarded by double doors. The hallway passes seamlessly through a massive black wall that sits upstage of hundreds of tiny flown lights.
Coordinating with the Lighting Department was key to this production's success. Their lineset electrics upstage would be blocked from coming in to working height once the hallway was installed, and hanging the LEDs was no swift task. The hallway also had a number of practical sconces inside, which had to be installed and tested before we sealed up the exterior faces that were visible to the audience.
Step one was to lay out flooring for the US area, composed of MDF sheets painted glossy black.
We worked our way across the stage for this load-in to take advantage of jacks and supportive connections integrated into the technical design.
After the SL wall was installed, the US and SL hallway walls were put in place.
Next was the hallway floor platforming. Strategic tolerances left gaps between the hallway walls and floor so the units didn't have to fight each other to be placed correctly. The gaps were later hidden by wainscot paneling the shop had pre-fabricated.
The ceiling was then raised in preparation for the SR hallway wall to be placed, then lowered and bolted into the walls. Once again, strategic tolerances between hallway walls and ceilings and the surrounding major walls allowed the units to fit together seamlessly with hidden gaps.
The glossy black "back wall" had a center section installed over the hallway ceiling, and then contained with large flats SR. Ladder-style jacks supported the 20' tall structure. At this stage of the process, the planked decking downstage could be confidently installed.