Odd – Set Model!

Hello!  This is Rob Kimbro, adapter and director for Odd and the Frost Giants, guest blogging from Houston.  The peeks that Mary’s given us on the blog into the puppet design process have been very useful to us at Stages.  And now I get to return the favor a bit.  The show is now cast and we’ll be starting rehearsal on Monday.  Today I met with Mike Mullins, set designer, and Jodi Bobrovski, props master (who has appeared on this blog before) for an update on those aspects of the show.  And I came away with some digital pics of the “white model” of the set.  Which is just what it sounds like – a scale model, but without any color treatment.

One of the challenges in presenting the story on stage is how to present Odd’s journey.  He goes from the village to the woods to a frozen waterfall across the rainbow bridge to the forests of Asgard to the walls of the city itself to Odin’s hall and back to the village again.  Representing all that in a concrete way would involve a lot of shifting around of trees and walls and furniture (and magical rainbows).  Instead, we’re picking up on something Thor says at the very end of the show:  “When I tell this story, there will be at least a dozen [Frost Giants]”

Our concept is that the audience is in a Viking hall, hearing the story of Odd and how he drove the Frost Giants out of Asgard.  And we’re always in that hall, even when the story is in the woods or on the rainbow bridge.  So the space is going to be decorated with Viking shields and the prows of old dragon ships.  There’s one stone wall on the upstage side of this 3/4 round space.  In my mind, it’s the wall the hall shares with the outer wall of the Viking stronghold.  Of course, in the story, it becomes the Wall of Asgard.

Here’s a photo of the model.  The outline on the wall will not be nearly so visible in the real thing – it’s a seam that will be concealed in the lines of a rough stone wall.  The camera’s perspective is that of an audience member in the center section.  You can see the stage right seating area on the left side of the photo.  That round thing in the middle will be both Mimir’s Well and all the various fire pits in the story.

normal configuration

So what’s going on with that outline on the wall, you’re wondering?  Well, in a way, it’s the largest puppet in the show.  When the giant picks Odd up during their confrontation, the Wall transforms into the face of the Giant:

Giant configuration

This is a different angle – looking down on the set from above.  In this configuration, a section of the wall has folded down to reveal a “hand” wagon that Odd will stand on.  At the same time, the outline above has pushed out to create a craggy set of brows and a nose.  And we have our giant.

There’s more information about the show on the @Stages blog – I’ve done a couple of posts on the story.  The most recent explains the great advantage the Norse myths have over the Greek, from a storytelling point of view. There should be a new one soon about Thor as a character, including my retelling of Thor’s fishing trip.  I’m hoping to do a post like that for each of the three transformed Gods.  Maybe Freya, too.  And there’s information on the production at the main Stages site, too.  For those of you in the Houston area, tickets to the 3 Saturday performances are now on sale.  You can call the box office or order directly online here.


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