Renée Mulder: The Boys Designer


As the sequence of scenes in The Boys constantly swaps rapidly between two different timeframes and locations, one of the first questions that arose was, how should we present these two spaces? Sam and I initially played with an idea of splitting the space into dual areas, for many reasons though this was not the right solution. The size and layout of the Griffin stage can work really well when a single ‘idea’ or space is presented. So we worked on creating that one environment that could serve the whole play.

We settled on the Sprague family’s back yard, which is pretty much a dustbowl, but it’s where the family comes together. Obviously as the audience we are voyeurs, trapped in the corners of this back yard, silently looking on, hoping no one will notice us (especially the Sprague brothers). There’s the back screen door, a few beat up old couches, and a back gate set amongst a jumbled mix of rusted iron fencing. With no direct view to the outside world this space is pretty claustrophobic, even more so when all seven characters are on stage at once. The front row of the audience has also been invaded with part of the set to bring the action closer, and hopefully aid an underlying unease.

Being honest, it’s not a comfortable space but that’s the whole point.

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