About theScenic Design, Scenic Artistry & Fairy Makeup

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A Conversation with April Chateauneuf

How did you become involved in this project?


As a member of the board of directors and a set designer, it seemed an obvious choice to become involved in A Midsummer Night’s Dream: The Rewired Musical.

What was your specific contribution to the conceptual aspect of the show as a whole?

I am the scenic designer and scenic artist for the show. The overall concept was a very collaborative effort amongst the production team. During an early board meeting, the board was having a very organic discussion with many ideas being thrown out. Eventually we stumbled across the framework of the current concept and it seemed to stick. As time went by, it became fully fleshed out. As for the design concept, I honestly had no idea what I was going to do as this was such a foreign concept to me. When I was asked to do the poster, well before any designs were set, I panicked a little. I had a few must-haves that needed to be in the poster and other than that the rest was up to me. I wanted to convey a sense of nature by using organic shapes and soft edges. But underneath that, I wanted a hidden world of circuits and wiring. It's very subtle in the poster and tends to be a bit more obvious in the backgrounds in the film. That early poster set the stage, so to speak, for the rest of the design for the production.

What was your creative process?  Please give examples.

Early on, I was very focused on trying to create a forest-like setting in a virtual world. Eventually that transitioned into taking inspiration from natural colors and textures of a forest and melding them with the hard lines and metallic grids of a motherboard. I still wasn't entirely sure how I wanted to incorporate the two different worlds. Right from the start, Jake Egan, our customer, had a very clear idea of what the fairies should look like. He went full speed ahead with selecting patterned fabric and draping intricate and unique silhouettes. He and I wanted to have a cohesive look for the total design of the show. We worked together to find a balance between my ideas and his. In the end I drew a lot of inspiration from the actual patterns on the fabric as well as colors. The fairy king and queen are inspired by peacocks. I chose to include those same colors into my backgrounds. Well it may be hard to see on screen, many of the patterns and shapes created by the circuit board motif echoes the same patterns that are in the costume fabrics. This became our fairies' playground.

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In many ways, the lovers’ backgrounds were so much easier for me to wrap my head around. They are the real world. I know the real world. Again, through discussions with Jake I began to understand his vision and view of each character through costumes. It was obvious to me that Hermia is softer, flowy fabrics with light colors and very feminine touches. I immediately landed on a cottage core vibe for her. Hermia has a bit more floral, crafty decor. Helena on the other hand is a bit more boho chic with brighter, louder colors. I tried to show their close relationship through similar decor. Well still trying to use their own colors and styles to keep it specific to each character.

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What were your greatest challenges throughout the process?

The absolute greatest challenge with this particular production was the physical distance of my co-collaborators. While we all worked together very well, this past year has been very different than any year prior. A pandemic-era production meeting via Zoom was a very new experience, indeed. It's had its challenges.

 

Another challenge was the digital aspect of the final product. As a Scenic artist/set designer, I am very used to creating large backdrops and full sets for the actors to work within. As a set designer, I am creating the physical world for our characters. In the case of Midsummer, I was a bit thrown at first with how to create a two-dimensional setting for them. In the end we settled on green screen and physical props that could be filmed in real time with the actors. It was definitely a learning experience with many speed bumps along the way. However, I am very excited for the final result.


Has any aspect of this project surprised you?  If so, what was it and why?

The editing and overall look of the individually shot scenes has far surpassed my expectations. I'm quite excited for the final product.

 

If you could choose one aspect of your contribution that you are most satisfied with/proud of, what would it be and why?

I absolutely love the evening forest background. I'm very pleased with the night time feeling that the blue conveys. I'm also very happy with the motherboard wiring that drips down from the top like a tree canopy. 


What has it been like working with the FUSE Team on 'A Midsummer Night's Dream- The Rewired Musical'?

Working on A Midsummer Night’s Dream: The Rewired Musical has been rewarding, fulfilling, exhausting and even sometimes frustrating. Like any successful project that you pour your heart and soul into, there are a whole range of emotions and experiences that come along with it. I wouldn't have it any other way.


I'm so very proud to see this very unique production come to fruition. I'm proud of each and every one of the cast, crew, and production team members (some of whom have been pulling triple duty) who have been working tirelessly to bring life to this production. 
 

What has it been like working with the FUSE Team on 'A Midsummer Night's Dream- The Rewired Musical'?

Working on A Midsummer Night’s Dream: The Rewired Musical has been rewarding, fulfilling, exhausting and even sometimes frustrating. Like any successful project that you pour your heart and soul into, there are a whole range of emotions and experiences that come along with it. I wouldn't have it any other way.


I'm so very proud to see this very unique production come to fruition. I'm proud of each and every one of the cast, crew, and production team members (some of whom have been pulling triple duty) who have been working tirelessly to bring life to this production. 
 

About the Makeup

It isn't every day you get the bonus of having a set designer & scenic artist to design and execute makeup for virtual fairies, but we were extremely fortunate to have April Chateauneuf's extraordinarily talented right hand at our disposal for this essential task.
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