Conceptual Design for Father Comes Home from the Wars by Suzan-Lori Parks
I spent my time working on this design pressing the boundaries of how literal my readings of plays are. While this play is textually set in the Civil War I wanted to explore how I could change that setting while not losing the heart of the play. In the end I do not think I was successful, but I learned a lot about when it is appropriate to take a story out of its assumed time and place.
While exploring this play I spent a lot of time looking at Japanese pod hotels and corporate hallways. The pods took the place of the slave's cabin while the fake house plants the foliage of the outside world. I wanted to explore the corporate world as a replacement for the divided United States. Unfortunately I didn't spend enough time thinking about why Suzan-Lori Parks set her play in the Civil War as opposed to any other period where slavery existed. Because I skipped that step my design stripped much of the meaning away from the play.