As part of our response to Carson Kreitzer’s “Lasso of Truth” we made Cornell Boxes (Joseph Cornell, not the CGI render tests…) encapsulating and expressing our feelings about the play. As an actor, the process of understanding a play often begins and ends with text. Through scene work, movement exercises and various other rehearsal techniques, we attempt to internalize the text: turn words on a page into words which ring true when we speak. If I have done my job well, then by the time a show opens I feel as though nothing makes more sense than to speak my lines in response to the lines of my scene partner. Nothing feels more right than to move and respond to the situation according to the actions of my character.
Creating this Cornell box was a lesson in this ‘rehearsal’ process as a designer: beginning with empty space, each element added changed the world ever so slightly and suggested further refinement. The shape and contents of this box – my response to the play – became slightly more specific with each addition, following and refining its own thread of internal logic. Ultimately, it developed into a something I would not have found through strict planning.