Setting the stage with George Murphy
While watching the new Echo Players production Lettice and Lovage, audience members will be transported to Great Britain, to a grand heritage house, an eclectic basement apartment and an office space complete with an intercom. But creating these authentic looking sets wasn’t easy.
With little room to work with, set designer George Murguly, husband to director Sue Murguly, had to create three-scenes-in-one in order to achieve the director’s vision. This involved crafting two identical staircases that will come together to form one grand staircase, and then apart to double as framing for the basement suite and office space.
“It’s a very small theatre and there is very little space, so to put three sets in one is a bit of a challenge,” he said.
George has been designing sets for over 20 years. A retired engineer and school teacher, he became involved in theatre work after missing his wife.
“I was going to become a theatre widower,” he said. “She’s at the theatre and I’m at home waiting, I said ‘that’s not going to happen.’”
George started doing technical things like sound and lighting, and then became a set designer. The couple moved to Qualicum Beach about five years ago.
A lot of the work for the set happened in a workshop in Hilliers, and took the help of 12 carpenters. A couple of the big challenges were the grand staircase, and the curved windows and doors, said George.
Theatre props, a custom built falstaff chair and furniture borrowed from Mildred’s Memorabilia Antiques in Qualicum Beach will decorate the basement set. A window showing people’s feet stomping by has even been created to give that underground sensation.
George said he thinks audiences will like the grand staircase as well as the many fine details incorporated into the sets.
“They’ll be mesmerized by the change of the sets from one act to the other,” he said.
Sue and George said it was incredible to see many community members volunteer their time to bring this production together.
“It’s really a community coming together,” Sue said.
Lettice and Lovage begins on March 31 at the Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach, and runs until April 16. Tickets are $18 for adults and $15 for seniors and students. For tickets and more information call 250-752-3522 or email email@example.com or visit www.echoplayers.ca. Tickets are also available at the box office.