• Rimers of Eldritch- Hallie Flanagan Theatre, Grinnell College

  • Rimers of Eldritch- Hallie Flanagan Theatre, Grinnell College

  • Rimers of Eldritch- Hallie Flanagan Theatre, Grinnell College

  • Rimers of Eldritch

    Rimers of Eldritch by Lanford Wilson explores a dying, mining town struggling with lost hope. As the mine stopped producing, most of the townspeople left to find work. Those that remain are faced with the murder of the town hermit, increased small-town gossip, and the death of the local hero, whose wrecked, burnt-out race car sits in the center of town as a reminder of past glory.

    Design Context

    When our production team started discussing Rimers we brainstormed some language: weathered, shrivelled, dying, ill. . . What was happening in Eldritch? What was killing this town, let alone one of the townspeople? Was it the loss of work, loss of friends who left for greener pastures, or was it something lying underneath, something hidden?

    As with small towns, everyone in town knows each other, and gossip runs rampant throughout the play. But unlike a normal curiosity, there is an edge and bite to this gossip. Anger and sadness fill the text of the play, and while the characters are polite to each other, behind each other's backs the gossip roils.

    When we began to think of the scenery, we wanted to have a visual representation not only of a weathered town, but the anger and sadness that lied hidden beneath the surface. Lighting designer Lanny Potts and I spent a great deal of time discussing how we could demonstrate this visually and also create the myriad locations (both interior and exterior) required by the text. The script has an episodic structure, but scenes overlap and meander from one to the next. For this reason, we decided on an impressionist scenic world that would blend interior and exterior spaces together.

    To solve the visual metaphor, I wanted to create "houses" with the peeling paint of a weathered and forgotten community. I decided on panels of siding with broken, uneven edges as if walls were crumbling and breaking. Lanny Potts suggested that we represent the anger and saddness of the community (what lies beneath) with some interior framework of the represented walls. We were also interested in something that would catch the light and provide more shape to the space. Lanny suggested chickenwire, which I added into the panels. This allowed for the walls to be "cracked" and "broken" while showing that there is something festering within, which visually represented the aspect of the text we were most interested in.

    The remainder of the scenic concept required that our team find ways to include required realistic elements like the race car while achieving an impressionist world. Our entire team decided that overlaying realistic elements from interior and exterior places reinforced the broken panels of siding throughout the space. We dressed the set with textured Jaxan and cut prairie grasses, appliances, tools, and turned a Honda Civic into a wrecked race car. All of these elements overlapped and allowed our performers and director to create interior and exterior scenes throughout the space.

    Hallie Flanagan Theatre - Grinnell College

    Flanagan Theatre is a 45' x 45' multi-form blackbox with a 3'-wide gallery 10' above the stage floor. The grid is 22' above the stage floor.

    For Rimers of Eldritch the space was arranged in a diamond-shaped thrust, with the audience seated on the North and East sides of the space.

    Production Photographs

    To access production photographs, click the link below.

    There are additional detail photographs of scenic elements that provide close-up shots of paintwork and set-dressing I completed with the help of Grinnell College student staff and Technical Director Erik Sanning. The link is below.

    You may take control of the slideshow using your left and right arrow keys on your keyboard or by clicking the arrows on either side of the image.

    Rimers Production Photographs

    Rimers Scenic Detail Photographs

Production Photographs

Rimers of Eldritch

Scenic Drawings

Scenic Detail Images