Associate Professor of Theatre Design
He served as the technical director of the Summer Repertory Theater, Santa Rosa, CA for three years before joining StageWest in Springfield, MA, where he was technical director, scenic designer and artistic associate. With more than fifty designs to his credit Peter's work includes scenery for Equus, Riches, Closer, Venus, and BFE as well as lights for The Ride Across Lake Constance, Riches, Unplugging and Bind Their Wounds at Hampshire College. Other professional and summer stock design credits include the Miniature Theatre of Chester, Summer Theatre Mount Holyoke, Worcester Foothills Theater, New London Barn Playhouse and Summer Theater at Meredith Village. Peter has served as designer and fabrication consultant respectively for WALA Heimettel, International, and AGH Design. He designed and fabricated scenic elements for Popa Depot for HERE'S American Living Room Series.
Peter is actively involved in Hampshire's DART (Design Art and Technology) Program. He is focused on design-driven performance. Peter has worked with students developing and presenting performance pieces reflecting on trauma, a photograph, control, and a piece of thread. Peter's current project is based on memories of working in a DDT plant and Rachel Carson. In addition to scenography, Peter teaches courses in light art and in exploring performance spaces.
In this studio course, students will explore two theatre design areas that often speak with each other: scenic design and projection design. We will question the use of projection design in today's theatre while experimenting with strategies for its inclusion. Moving through a series of individual and group exercises, students begin to develop their own processes. We will interpret story and emotion within theatre works through design. Throughout the semester students develop a design vocabulary that enables collaboration and interplay, while producing unified and coherent design work. We examine how projections may influence scenery and how scenery may influence projections. Working in a studio environment, students will experiment with different scenic and projection design practices. Using tools such as Vectorworks, QLab, and Isadora, students combine technology with design expression. It is recommended that students have access to a Mac laptop.
Designers, choreographers, and performers frequently face a traditional performance space or, as is often the case, face a nontraditional space and then question how to "fill" or design within it. What elements help create the functionality and appropriateness of a performance space? We will explore a variety of spaces, traditional and non-traditional, and the "performers" who use or have used them. We will then focus on design elements such as scenery, lighting, sound, costumes, or projections and examine the many ways these elements serve the text and/or vision of a performance piece within an array of spaces.
What draws us to the light? What is the depth of our connection? We use light as a mode of artistic expression: to illuminate, to underscore, to surprise or intimidate. Why? We enter our exploration of light through the study and practice of theatre lighting design. After gaining a firm grounding in the process of lighting for the stage, we will consider how light is used in dance, music, and installation art. Through the study of how light defines and reinforces line, movement, texture, scale, and color, we gather skills and techniques that inform our own personal use of lighting design. Students will experiment with light manipulation in class and work on group and individual projects throughout the semester.
In this course, students will design, build, and manage an escape room on Hampshire campus under the guidance of Professors Fay and Kallok. Though the professors will provide team leadership and direction, the students will be the ones creating the escape room, including concept art, storyboards, game design, puzzle design, set design, set construction, painting, lighting, sound design, production management, marketing, and live production. The set construction portion of the course will occur immediately following Thanksgiving, so students should be prepared to commit significant effort during that week. Students are expected to be skilled in at least one discipline relevant to escape room design, listed above. To facilitate the substantial collaboration that will be required outside of class hours, there is also a reserved lab time from 1pm - 4pm on Fridays. Prerequisite information: At least two semesters of course work in a discipline or disciplines related to escape room design, such as set design, lighting, painting, game design, audio design, project management, marketing, etc.
When designing costumes, projections, sound, lighting, props, or scenery, do theatre designers read plays any differently than a director or an actor? Should they? When reading a play, to what does a designer respond? Theme, character, dialogue, stage directions, place, time, rhythm, flow, and arcs all play into a designer's process of discovering the visual and aural possibilities of texts. How does a designer sift through the body of a script and discover clues of the physical nature of the play? This course focuses on reading plays with design in mind. We will read and discuss selected plays. Students will research period and aesthetic styles, lead discussions, present initial design ideas for each play, and work in "design teams." Throughout the semester students will expand their design vocabulary and experiment with design presentations.
Though the use of projections has a long history in the theatre, it is only within the last ten years that projection design has become a significant design element in many theatre productions. More recent advances in projection technology have made projections not only common, but often central to the experience of the performance environment. Continued experimentation with the integration of projections in many theatre productions has influenced other theatrical disciplines such as playwriting, directing and the traditional design areas. In this course we examine the history of projection design in theatre performance leading up to current practices. We will question the use of projection design in today's theatre while we experiment with strategies for its inclusion. Students will be given an introduction to the "tools" of projection design in a studio setting as they advance through a series of exercises and independent projects. Laptop required/ Macs preferred.
There are processes designers in the theatre must undertake to realize the physical world of a play. Moving through a series of individual and group exercises, students will begin to develop their own process toward expressing the passion of a theatre work through their designs. Throughout the semester students will develop a design vocabulary that allows for collaboration and interplay, while producing unified and coherent design work. This semester particular emphasis will be placed on scenic and costume design as students learn to communicate their design concepts using the tools of design: drafting, model building, and rendering.