The Grand Designs of Ia Ensterä and Jason Amato

posted Jul. 17, 2015. #2 of 21 photos.

Uncle Vanya, Breaking String Theater (2011). From the Chronicle review: "The first impression you'll get of this Breaking String Theater production of Anton Chekhov's classic play will be a striking one, for Ia Ensterä's set design almost bowls you over. Meant to embody a single, generic room, it's wooden pretty much everywhere you look: wooden plank walls and a raised plank stage surrounded by a border of wood chips. And hanging over it all are the leaves and branches of a dead tree. Depending on the scene, the single room set, augmented by various furniture pieces, represents different rooms in the estate, and it takes up the entire stage space at the Off Center, which makes it a pretty big room. The primary entrances into the space are below the raised stage, so people enter, cross the wood chips, then step up onto the stage. Director and translator Graham Schmidt and designer Ensterä seem to be saying that we are not just surrounded by but also dominated by and at the mercy of a corrupt and dying nature, and we see this idea played out in the action of the story." – Barry Pineo

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