Set Design

Week of 3/22 : Set Construction and Mental Illness

Kathleen Fox
Mar 22, 2017 · 4 min read

This week for my senior thesis project I have begun the construction of my set, a feat more challenging than I originally imagined. I reached out to Kyle, the building manager of the AIMM Building to see if I could use the shop over break and he agreed to let me come in on Thursday. I placed an order with Heath Lumber to get all the wood I would need to build the set. On Thursday, they arrived with the wood and I brought it into the shop and started to measure and make cuts to build the two 4x8 platforms constructed with 1 by and a sheet of luan. For the most part, I completed the two platforms within my 8 hour day in the shop. After making cuts, I put the platforms together by myself, a process that turned out to be very difficult. I had to lapse the pieced of wood to the table to prevent it from moving every time I wanted to drill into it. Usually, one just has another person hold the piece of wood, but because I was by myself, I had to constantly rearrange clamps to keep the wood steady. It was a tedious process.

In the end, I finished 2 platforms, though. There is a problem with one platform though because I miscalculated how much wood I could get from a 12 ft piece of wood. One platform is currently missing a 45 1/3 in piece that is supposed to go across that back. I shall add it in at a later point. I also made all the cuts for the bracing I will need to keep the platforms up. I do not want to drill those in into a later point, though after the platforms are painted and decorated properly.

I also began experimenting with projection and I believe I have a fairly solid plan as to how I want to set up the projection area on my set. I will have more on that within the next week hopefully. This weekend, my hope is to paint and decorate the set so it will be ready for the production.

Outside of the construction side, I have been revising my script quite a bit. Although, originally, a much easier script to write, it is a little more difficult to edit because the subject matter touches home a bit, and I want to make sure I present the issue correctly. This show is primarily about mental illness and learning to confront one’s problems. The main character, Geena, is struggling to exist after she had a mental breakdown and has been directed to this place to seek help in order to help her cope. It’s a difficult process for her to confront her issues head on and in a genuine way. Geena suffers from anxiety and depression and after the sudden loss of her friend, she is unable to exist in a real way.

Mental Illness if a difficult topic to really go into detail about. You are supposed to root for Geena, but Geena is also problematic and tries of address things on a superficial level rather than actually confronting things that have hurt her. There is such a stigma about mental illness yet a majority of the population suffers from it and this play is an attempt for me to try to address the actual process of healing and therapy and whether or not it is always helpful. Therapy is difficult. It is the process of working on oneself and you do not leave it magically recovered and healed. My goal as a writer and director is to talk about mental illness truthfully as we follow’s Geena’s story in healing. I want to show how difficult therapy is and how it doesn’t yield the desired outcome in the way one originally thinks.

Follow the Class of 2017 from the Interactive Multimedia Department at The College of New Jersey as they develop their senior capstone projects.

Kathleen Fox

Written by

IMM at TCNJ Senior Showcase 2017
Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade