The director for As You Like It asked me for “…a wonderful forest that the audience will want to run around in.” From former experience with him, I knew he was a fan of Maxfield Parrish paintings. Though I looked at a lot of visual styles for this show, I kept returning to that particular artist.
This is a classic wing-and-drop forest, with cut and netted drops. The drops get smaller as they go upstage, creating a strong forced perspective even in the absence of straight lines. We surfaced the platforms and ramps with mossy-looking artificial grass, and placed flowers everywhere. The forest was very inviting, and loaded with entrances and exits. It was a fitting setting for this comedy.
The period was early twentieth century. The evil Duke Ferdinand was modeled after the facist dictators of the era, Hitler and Mussolini. I designed variations of the swastika that used the letter F. This motif flew in the Duke’s palace, and was used on the arm bands of his henchmen.