Wooster Theater ‘Scene’ Inspires Senior Set Designer
Sidney Martin to provide full stage set for College of Wooster production of Scapin this fall
WOOSTER, Ohio — Sidney Martin's only reservation about attending The College of Wooster was its signature undergraduate research program — Independent Study (a.k.a. I.S.) — a robust endeavor in which every senior works one-on-one with a faculty adviser to create an original research project, written work, performance, or art exhibit.
"It seemed like a daunting project," says Martin, who chose Wooster over nine other schools. "Coming out of high school, I was not looking forward to it."
But now, as she works her way through the first semester of her senior year, she realizes that it will benefit her enormously. "I'm glad I'm doing it," she says. "It is giving me a chance to design a show and to conduct research that has inspired the way I am approaching the project."
A senior from Columbus, Ohio, Martin considered sociology or theater as possible majors when she arrived on campus in the fall of 2011, but opted for the latter because she had been "doing theater things since sixth grade" and really liked its artistic nature.
During her three-plus years at Wooster, Martin has worked on every theater production in one capacity or another and spent two summers with Ohio Light Opera. Her career will culminate this fall with the theater department's production of Scapin, for which she will serve as scenic designer in partial fulfillment of her Senior I.S. project. "I'm excited to show my work in this production," she says. "I will be very glad to have it as part of my portfolio."
Martin will put together a full stage set featuring two multi-level houses that will give depth and dimension to the show. She will also provide a painted backdrop to reflect the landscape of that era. "It's a large undertaking and pretty overwhelming at times," she says, "but once it's finished, I think it will be pretty cool."
Martin drew her inspiration, in large part, from her research on the Italian renaissance and painting techniques of that era. Her color palette was influenced by the illustrations of Ludwig Bemelmans in his book series about the adventures of Madeline.
She started working on the project in late July, meeting with theater-department faculty members Dale Seeds, Shirley Huston-Findley, and Charlene Gross to "nail down a concept and begin preparing floor plans." Since then, she has been working in earnest to prepare for the show, which opens. Oct. 30. "I hope to have the design solidified and ready by the end of fall break (Oct. 12)," she says. "I've been involved in every phase of the production, which has really been interesting and exciting."
When the show closes on Nov. 1, Martin will catch her breath and then complete the written portion of her I.S. project. After that, she is looking forward to traveling to parts of the world that she has not yet seen, and she is hoping that her theater experience will provide the ticket. Eventually, she plans to pursue a master's degree, and ultimately, she would like to work at a theater in New York or Chicago.
Wherever the destination, Martin knows that her Wooster experience will always have an influence on her. "I love Wooster," she says. "I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else. I am very grateful for all that the school and the department have done for me."