Sit & Spin’s design show this spring is The Fig and the Wasp, by Samantha Behr. What is unique about this process is that rather than a student director leading the vision of the production, we started with a student designer as the primary leader. Student designers are often overworked and underappreciated at Northwestern, so we wanted to start the theater creative process from the lens of the designer and give a student designer the opportunity to pitch a dream project. Henry Muller, a lighting designer and our team leader, has chosen The Fig and the Wasp as his project where he will work to execute his vision. Sit & Spin seeks to expand the definition of theater, so it makes sense that they would spearhead a process that looks to the designer as the leader.
The Fig and the Wasp is a play that exists in a world of plague, unrest, and a failure of leadership in a dystopian world that explores the idea of hopelessness. Throughout the play, we move between the world as it crumbles, flashbacks to the past, and Cara, patient zero for this new, elusive disease’s psyche. Henry, his design team, and the director, Connor Geary, have been collaborating to figure out how to tell this story through design, grappling with questions such as: What does a world ravaged by disease look like? What does hope mean to these people? What does it mean to lose hope? What does it look like as this world falls apart? How can an entire empire crumble onstage? In light of COVID-19, this play—and it’s message of planting a seed of hope—feels more important than ever. To plant a seed, to care for something, is to have hope. With this show, we are striving to give the audience a small seed of hope they can carry with them during these difficult and trying times.