Ethereal Convergence: CalArts Halloween 2023
Assistant Technical Director
You have been formally invited to a ritual in the woods by an old friend, Cosmina Robshaw. Her great-grandfather's estate has fallen into disrepair. Withered hands seem to stretch out of the trees to meet you. The dusty old halls are riddled with secrets and clues, all spelling one thing: forbidden witchcraft. On the night of the lunar eclipse, Cosmina enlists the help of the witches to try to summon Azarah, a powerful planes-walker deity. The ritual begins at the stroke of midnight, as the shadow of the earth eclipses the moon, and the veil between realities is lifted. Will you survive the Ethereal Convergence, or will the old gods decide you aren't worthy for the party of a lifetime?
For the 2023 CalArts Halloween Party, our team wanted to make not only an exciting party atmosphere, but also a world of immersive environments. We came up with the story of the old oil baron and occultist Ashfield Robshaw, who built an estate surrounding Azarah's Convergence Point in a large overgrown forest. Decades later, his great-granddaughter Cosmina has enlisted the help of her fellow witches to summon Azarah.
As Production Designer, I was responsible for designing the main stage, as well as checking in with the other Scenic Designers to ensure that all of our spaces were cohesive and told the story of the Robshaw estate. As Assistant Technical Director, I designed all of the scenic elements for the main stage as well as created technical designs, build drawings, and coordinated with outside vendors to ensure my vision was successfully brought to life.
One of my goals was to transform the CalArts Main Gallery into an unrecognizable space, making the audience feel small and that control was outside of their hands. I created a series of rock work elements to gain a perspective that would lead your eye to the center of the stage. The rock work features became larger as you got closer to the stage, with the tallest pieces being at 14 feet to draw your eye upwards to the balcony where the DJ was performing. A challenge that I wanted to focus on was creating connection between the balcony and lower level of the stage to make everything feel cohesive. At the center of the stage sat the ruins of a summoning portal, featuring invisible blacklight paint to be revealed in the theatrical summoning at midnight. This centerpiece in conjunction with an LED screen provided a backdrop that connected the two levels into one large stage, with the audience still able to feel a connection with the performers on the balcony.