Course: Space Design for Performance
Hadestown retells the ancient tale of Orpheus and Eurydice, between the contrasting worlds of a natural paradise and harsh underground industry, in a reality where nothing is promised. The easy life "on top" is simply an illusion, and the real world, full of responsibility and hardship, always looms behind. I designed multiple iterations of the scenic elements for the Hadestown musical as my midterm project in the course.
Setting the production in the 1920s, just before the Great Depression, the show emphasizes ideas like uncertainty about the future, and excess in the face of inevitable poverty. The storyline relies heavily on the duality of space; the characters traverse between the flourishing natural landscape up above and the gritty, industrial town down below. While Hades’ domain is gilded, shining, and manufactured with Art Deco details, the world above is gentle, filled with trees and flowers blowing in the breeze. 

My rough model showing the "up on top" portion of the narrative, where the tall scrims would allow projections of trees, gardens, and waterfalls.

The rough model once Hadestown is revealed, where the scrims lift to show the "electric city" led by the god of the underworld.

My final model took the ideas of the first iteration to a larger, more immersive scale. Audiences stand on a factory/warehouse floor, at first surrounded by scrims with projections of the natural world "up top". Once the story descends to Hadestown, the peaceful and celebratory setting lifts away, emphasizing its temporary quality. The audience is plunged into a sorrowful world of dread, where actors move around the catwalks above and sometimes make their way down to the floor. In the end, Orpheus and Eurydice attempt to escape back "up top", via a towering staircase at one end of the space. 

An overhead view of my final 1/4"-scale model, showing the open floor where the audience stands throughout the show.

An view from the side of my final model, with Hades' balcony at center and the climactic staircase at right.

A floor-level view of the warehouse, where catwalks for the performers surround the audience.

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