'The Knickers' (Sternheim)


With:
Theobald Maske: Philip Whitchuch
Luise Maske: Caroline Langrishe
Gertrude Deuter: Marcia Warren
Scarron (a poet): Michael J Jackson
Mandelstam (a barber): Adrian Schiller

Director: Phil Young
Designer: David Burrows
Lighting designer: John Linstrum
Composer: Andrew Dickson


Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith 1991


Frau Maske dances with neighbourMaske interviews ScarronFrau Maske up a ladderAct 2 pre-set

For all the images please scroll to the right ........

...and for press reviews click here!

The set for 'Knickers' consisted of a series of multiple rakes, some of them quite steep. Two stage lifts were used, the opening of the major one, centre stage, provided the principal entrance via a metal staircase up into the Maske's apartment and the other having multiple functions as part of the overall scheme of objects entering the space as and when needed by the action. By this I mean, for example, that when Frau Maske set about cooking the dinner, the kitchen flat, (reasonably clear in the first photo), would fly in and the stove emerge up through the floor to meet it. And when it was time to do the washing up a sink (with running water) popped up where once stood the stove. The second image shows the hatstand which flies in at Herr Maske's bidding and the penultimate photo has the ladder which Frau Maske climbs.

John Linstrum provided some very effective lighting design, well integrated with the set design ideas. Unfortunately the photos aren't too clear, (I took them from the dress circle during the first night with a friend's camera which I didn't quite manage to fathom) but a sense of the dynamic possibilities of the tilted acting areas is just about possible to make out?

The Lyric's stage is relatively shallow but quite wide so I decided to do away with all masking and take the set to the extremes of the theatre space. The set in working light, below, just before it was struck for the last time after the final performance shows a little more clearly the relationship of it to extreme stage right as well as the full extent of the central staircase feature disappearing into the flies. The final image clearly reveals the two upstage bedrooms which the Maskes have put up for rent - the one nearest centre stage descending sharply contrasting with the very steeply raked offstage bedroom jutting out into the far stage left wing space.

Given the fairly constrained budget the set design was ambitious and was built by Adrian Snell in his Leicester based workshops. Adrian did an excellent job and a flavour of his workshop as well as the build in progress can be seen if you click here!

Set in working light


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