Creating an organic space and interpreting nature
Designer Gringo Cardia drew inspiration from the structures that certain species of insect create when they establish nests and colonies.
Gringo has worked closely on many dance productions with OVO’s director Deborah Colker and they are used to a cross-pollination of ideas. He has contributed content to the show and she has brought ideas to the set design—neither approaches their role in isolation.
The overall setting of OVO is a stylized habitat that is home to the insects. At times it is a forest, at other times, a cave—or it could even be a house. Gringo’s objective was to create an organic environment that could lead to many other places.
The set elements: giant objects in a minuscule world
The show starts with a gigantic Egg on stage, obscuring much of the performance space from view. The mysterious object from the outside world is an inexplicable enigma in the eyes of the insects (and a nod to the monolith from the Kubrick film 2001). This timeless symbol of fertility and regeneration reappears in other forms later in the show, laid by the insects.
The largest set element is the Wall, which is set against the rear of the stage. The performers climb on it, disappear into it and use it as a stage, a platform and a launching pad.
At first, the Wall is concealed by two enormous “Skins” designed to create a sense of depth, and, through holes and openings, to reveal its secret life as a home to the insects as each of the Skins are removed in turn.
Art imitating life
There are almost no straight lines to be found anywhere in the set. True to the organic inspiration of the show, the Wall is curved, and so is the stage. But there is one exception: the Spider’s Web. Real spiders’ webs are made up of straight lines, so this is a case where art imitates life with a nod towards geometry. It is made of strong woven synthetic straps.
Giant props that evoke nature
An enormous 30-ft mechanical Flower appears on stage. The Flower blooms and becomes much more than an over scale prop, it’s a character in the show. Part sculpture, part puppet, part robot, it is seen from the insects’ point of view as a towering, inspiring feature of their environment.
Tall Poles rising high above the insect world represent the strands of flowers. The performing artists climb them and appear at various levels above the stage. Big or small, short or tall, it’s just a perspective matter after all…
- A completely new stage and acrobatic structure have been fabricated for OVO arena tour. A good portion of the original design had to be adapted for that matter.
- The Wall measures 64 ft wide by 30 ft tall and is a giant projection surface that will be used all across the show.
- In the remount process, from the Big tent to the arena, new acts have been added to the Ovo show with a small adaptation to the original story line.
- The Egg, which is inflatable, measures 28 ft wide by 22 ft tall.
- The acrobatic structure is at 45’ from the ground and weighs over 22,000 Lbs.
- The stage floor is made of 225 panels.