MASON CITY — A play is more than plot and characters. And a set is more than background.
The set of Mason City Community Theatre’s winter musical, “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” fits the show well, according to David Lee.
“I think this is the prettiest set I’ve designed,” said Lee, who also designed the set for MCCT’s last production, “Work Song — Three Views of Frank Lloyd Wright.”
“All the parts of the show — the scene, costumes, lighting — all coalesce to make a visually stunning show. Besides, the music is outstanding.”
In designing the set, Lee talked with Paul Collier, a shepherd/villager in the show, who had produced it in Texas. Lee also conferred with his wife, Aimee, creative director, and his brother Dennis, music director, as well as consulting the script.
He called it a “multi-use” set.
“Indoor had to be outdoor and outdoor had to be indoor, depending on which scene you were in,” Lee said, adding that the opening scene is important. “Amahl is outdoors. His mother is calling him in.”
And the audience can see them both.
In one scene, three kings have arrived at the home of Amahl and his mother, and are warming themselves by the fire. The set becomes darker.
“The lights on the king’s robes and jewelry just glitter around the fire,” Lee said.
The song in that scene is interpreted differently — “the kings talking about Jesus, the mother talking about Amahl,” Lee said. They are separated with light.
“The night sky becomes more dominant. The Eastern star draws everything together as they’re in their different worlds.”
The set uses two commercial gobos, a metal slide that goes into the lighting to produce a shape of light, such as a star. Lee also made gobos, perforating stainless steel he uses in his work as a jeweler. The Eastern star is a custom gobo.
“I wanted to make the entire width of the stage a star field — a bigger feel on such a small stage,” Lee said.
Lee, who got his start at MCCT making a gobo, has been designing sets for nearly 10 years, and just finished his term as MCCT’s president. He is also technical director for this show.
Set construction was by Chris Dalrymple (King Kaspar); Skyler Lee (Amahl), and Gail Meyer (mother), along with Dennis, David and Aimee Lee, and other cast members as time allowed.
Meyer also made a lot of the costumes, and blankets for the beds.
“Gail has been huge in this production. She just grabbed it and ran with it.”