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Scenic Designer

Buried Child

Scale: 1/4


A play about a family facing disappointment after not achieving the all-American dream, Buried Child by Samuel Shepard, highlights the idealized life many hope to have and how not attaining it can destroy a family.  This story plays with mythology and it can be difficult to sense what is real and what isn't when the secrets of the story are revealed.  

When designing this show, I knew I wanted to play off of a suspended fragmented house.  Nothing in this story feels grounded to me and there is a sense exaggeration and a fantasy-like quality.  The house is inspired from a Sears Model Farmhouse from the 1920's.  I knew the root of the design had to come from the all-American dream, but as their nuclear family became broken, the house began to do the same.  


The openness outside of the house plays with the negative space under the backdrop and creates organic lines that balance the structure of the house while still keeping the rough ripped edges.  The pattern of the house is mimicked on the floor using wood graining to create sections. A painted brown, green grass texture fills the space between the wood floor to show the family is living on top of their crops.  

Light plays a key role in this production in particular.  Side and back lighting help to distinguish the eeriness of the house and the sense of loneliness outside.  For the final moment of the show I imagine Tilden standing in the doorway being backlit and his shadows stretch across the whole stage.  

Buried Child was my first design assignment in Penn State's graduate studio.  For this assignment I was able to 3D draft the rough set, as seen above, and create rough drafting plates.

Buried Child Drafting
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