By Abram Yarbro, dramaturg
For the interview, See How They Run set designer Logan Hayden agreed to take me to the Margetts Theatre where some of the set has been constructed. We were both very excited at seeing the performance space finally take shape, but he could hardly contain it when he saw the latest construction:
Logan Hayden: “I’ve been waiting for these pieces to come together for so long so I could actually look at them. And… Wah Lah. And now I can stand up here instead of imaging what it would be like!”
Abram Yarbro: Why did you want to be a Set Designer?
Logan Hayden: I did design in High School. I started as a lighting designer and I designed four or five shows and then I ended up doing a scenic design my senior year which I loved. And then I went to college, I went on my mission and then I came back and said “that’s going to be a fun hobby but I’m going to find a JOB.” And then I met Rory Scanlon and he advised me to take a scenic design class from Eric Fielding, who used to be the scenic design teacher. I started taking that class and loved it and then I started taking more classes and doing more things. Eventually I got sucked into the theatre vortex and haven’t escaped since!
AY: So take me through the process from being contracted for the show to now.
LH: I was first invited to do the show in mid-January. Eventually we got scripts and I read the story. We started having production meetings and then as I read the script I would do the normal paperwork to notes of “enters through the door here,” “sits down on the couch here.”
I found some really interesting books from the library that had typical classic English homes. I used those as visual reference of architecture, sizes, types, styles, some colors and also my concept sheet. As I talked with Barta (the director) about how she wanted it to be a whimsical farce, I thought of the birds. I guess if you look at it, maybe you can think of it as just a giant birdhouse. I spent a lot of long nights trying to put my research together. Thankfully I’ve had a lot of good conversations with Barta.
AY: So you did the research and then you do a sketch, like a design sketch?
LH: Sometimes you start with a pencil sketch, sometimes I start with a 3D modeling program. I definitely have a sketch up model, I don’t remember if I have any hand sketches. Then eventually I took that sketch model and turned it into drafting plans which I eventually turned into the shop so they could build it. From those drafting plans, I printed them out in scale, pasted them on foam core, and turned it into the white model.
AY: I know that the script comes with a recommended set plan, why did you do something different?
LH: I really like to take a script and make it my own in whatever way that is. Some people might do that using the plans that were there. But especially in this space…. There were a lot of problems we were running into. If we were on a proscenium, that would have been a lot easier.
It’s kind of an awkward space for the script so we ended up turning it sideways to try to get that corner and the space that it affords us. That’s why the seats are tilted.
AY: If there was one thing you wanted people to notice about your set what would it be?
LH: Part of me would say nothing because then they’re paying attention to the story. I think we have a lot of fun details planned into set, nick-knacks here and there that hopefully doesn’t take away from the play but adds a little flavor that people weren’t expecting. Unexpected little things that if you notice it, you will appreciate it but it won’t distract. So just watch for the little Easter Eggs.