What's been so rewarding about working as technical director of Stanford Ram's Head Theatrical Society's Pippin is the director's unique vision. Rather than going with the customary circus route, the director decided to pull inspiration from Nevada's Burning Man Festival. She tasked me with designing some of the key aspects of the set, giving me a great deal of creative license.
One of the central themes of the show, I wanted to create set pieces that reflected a central motif of the sun. One way I did this was by creating a custom light fixture (left) featuring geometric designs that reference this motif.
The set piece I am most proud of is the "arch" (above). The centerpiece of the set, the arch is a 20-foot wide, 10-foot tall modular and climbable rolling platform that features an abstracted sun motif on the front. In creating this piece, I had to work within many design constraints. I had to take into consideration the ease of movement of such a large piece; to accommodate for that, I prototyped and designed a custom omni-wheel drive system for the two interlocking platforms. I also had to make the steel of the arch as matte as possible so as to not blind the audience with the reflections of the theatrical lights - without using any oils or finishes that could transfer onto the actors' costumes. And I had to create a design that was modular enough to, at different points in the show, represent a green house, a tent, and a cage.
Currently, I am halfway through constructing the arch. Leading a small team, I manufactured steel tubing into the right shapes based on calculations made in SOLIDWORKS. I am currently in the process of mig-welding the joints together for a sturdy structure.