Speculative set and costume design for Brecht's 'The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny', Hackney Empire (2017)
Setting: America, West Coast, 1980s
Design Concept: Taking into consideration the demographics of Hackney, and how gentrification has rapidly changed the area since the 1980s, an American backdrop is fitting due to Brecht’s known fascination with American culture (as indicated in the text) as well as a similar period of change in America on the West Coast in the 1980’s.
The play conveys a warning of what can occur in a society that is over-saturated with the need for consumption; over-indulging in food, media, sex, money etc. The main characters (Begbick, Fatty and Moses) have no idea how to run a city, and so it falls into disarray. I wanted to explore this from a child's viewpoint. Using Brecht’s alienation effect, the design concept makes it clear to the audience that this is fiction allowing space for Brecht’s themes to be digested by the audience.