Kerry Moran’s scenic design for Once on This Island is a key player in telling the story of Ti Moune. An architect who acts, directs, and designs, Kerry never fails to surprise audiences with her creative use of materials and vision for the world of the play.
Tell us a little about yourself and your experience and background.
I am an architect with a small practice and do mostly ( but not exclusively) residential work. I grew up close to NYC/Broadway where I saw many shows, courtesy of my parents. I did some theater in high school but returned to it about sixteen years ago with my kids. Doing theater is similar to being an architect and I use many of the same design and construction skills with both. The design has to solve the problems presented by the show, details matter, it has to support the users, and execution is important.
What are some past shows you’ve designed for at 4cp?
The first show I designed was Othello about seven years ago. The Importance of Being Earnest, Shrek, Honk are some of the shows I’ve designed for 4CP. I’ve also had a hand in a few others like set decoration for The Fantasticks and collaboration on the set of Sylvia.
I read the script! I do a lot of theater in various capacities so I read as an actor, director, and designer. I generally get a vision of the world suggested by the script as I’m reading it and try to get it down on paper as soon as possible. This gives me something to start off with when meeting with the director. I also research the time, place, background of the story — typical dramaturg work — and incorporate my findings as inspiration for the design. I try to be collaborative and make adjustments to accommodate the director’s vision whenever possible. Ideally I am able to create something that is beyond expectation and serves the show, the actors and the director’s vision.
How do you communicate your design to the master carpenter and set builders?
I do drawings but I’m also at every build so we can discuss materials, methods, and details.
In thinking about designing for Once on This Island, what interested you about the script?
The magical quality of storytelling is essential to the script.
How would you describe the aesthetic of the OoTI set design?
Handmade. Also a bit cartooned. It’s a deep blue sea with yellow sands. The hotel is pristine and the village is shabby but neat and clean — it’s all idealized .
What are some of the design elements within this set design that you are proud of?
I love my palm trees. They take brown paper bags to new heights! I also like how the cloud takes light.
Why do you enjoy working with Four County Players?
I like the camaraderie and how everyone pulls together to get a show on its feet. It’s the nature of community theater. At 4CP it often becomes a family affair with parents and kids working side by side. I like how supported designers are in what they do. I love the building and its warm, welcoming feel; and the proscenium stage is fun to dress.