Told by an Idiot: The role of the designer

Monday, 2 December 2019

Posted by

Rehearsal blog week 3

Through some fortunate accident of faith I’ve managed to stumble into winning the inaugural Naomi Wilkinson award for Stage Design and before I knew it I was in the rehearsal room with a company whose work I’ve admired since before setting foot on the island of Great Britain. We are now in week 4 of rehearsals (I think? Time is such an elusive notion) and I still can’t believe I’m part of this beautiful mass of chaos.

The process was as usual initiated with loads of ideas – some great, some not so great on my behalf and as time went by nothing seemed to rise at my expectation of what the universe of Stan and Charlie should be. Then of course, towards the white card model deadline panic set in, cozily in my already doubt riddled brain. This was it, I was done. I couldn’t come up with anything. Months of research, tens of moodboards for nothing. The situation was clear: I had to abdicate from the project and move to Nepal to live as a goat (and before you think anything about my sense of drama it’s inherited from my mum).

Something Paul kept saying to me in every meeting was about the methodology of the company, ‘everything has to be a provocation’ and then it suddenly came to me. It was all about the physicality of the piece and therefore the set could be nothing else but a playground for the performers to explore. Strongly influenced by Escher and silent movies I started constructing irregular but repetitive structures, different levels that could help drive the narrative and the language we were creating.

And so I find myself towards the end of the rehearsal period drowning in rehearsal notes and prop searches and I’ve never felt happier with my chosen career path.

model box design
Model box design
white card design
white card design








Ioana Curelea

Designer for ‘The Strange Tale of Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel’


The Strange Tale of Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel’ at Unity Theatre, Tue 18 – Sat 22 Feb 2020