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'Set'ting the scene


by Trinity Gruenberg    

    The right set can make a play come to life. The details and functionality of the set and its use by the actors make the audience feel as if it is a real life experience. 

    Teacher Kelly Youngbauer directed her first play at the Verndale School in 2010. 

    “I was asked pretty late in the year, so, I had a week to pick a play, have auditions and then start rehearsal. We had rehearsal late, after sports practice,” said Kelly.

    Her master set designer just happens to be her husband and school board member, Chris. 

    “I didn’t convince him, I challenged him. The conversations always started the same: ‘Chris, could you possibly make me a realistic looking cactus that could fold down so it could store easily?’ Or: ‘Would it be possible to make a gigantic computer that has a door in it so people could come through it? And could it be capable of being put up and taken down in less than 10 minutes?’” shared Kelly.

    Sets have ranged from towers, hotels and cabins as well as props such as a camera and a jukebox. Each present their own challenges and unique design. 

    “Most scripts come with a general layout description and sometimes a picture. Then Kelly and I collaborate to make things more aesthetic,” said Chris. 

    Depending on the complexity of the set, Chris puts in around 40 hours of his time to create it, using materials such as wood, sheeting, polystyrene foam and electrical circuits. . . .

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