In Act I of Clybourne Park, the time is 1959 and the place is a charming Chicago bungalow on moving day. In Act II, the time is 2009 and the place is that same bungalow, but you’d hardly know it—the furniture is gone, the windows have been knocked out, and there’s graffiti on the walls. Fifty years of American life and history have passed in the interim. In the theater, though, it’s been 20 minutes.
During the intermission of each performance of Clybourne Park, while theatergoers stretch their legs, use the bathroom, and/or buy drinks, monumental changes take place behind the lowered curtain on the A.C.T. stage. Furniture is removed, rugs rolled up, wallpaper stripped, and wood paneling moved in, all to create the illusion of long-term degradation. The illusion is crucial, and the payoff when the curtain is raised on the second act, priceless. But the transformation itself is fascinating, and something of a show in its own right, so we’ve decided to give you a (literally) behind-the-scenes look at what happens between the acts of Clybourne Park. (If you want to learn more about what went into designing and creating the Clybourne Park set, check out the interview with scenic designer Ralph Funicello in Words on Plays, available at the theater and online.)
—The A.C.T. Intern Blog Quadrumvirate
Video shot by A.C.T. Scenic Design Associate Kevin McPherson
Edited by Marketing Fellow Christine Miller