Deb Sivigny, designer

Head Over Heels at Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
Sense and Sensibility at Everyman Theatre
The Legend of Hang Tuah at Pointless Theatre

Design is like a sedimentary rock: comprised of ideas collected over time stacked tightly in layers—organic, colorful and seemingly from nothing.

My work is created along a continuum. No project can stand alone in a vacuum. Every world that I create is informed by the worlds that came before it, but no two are ever the same. For me, the most effective designs support the narrative of the play and the arc of the characters. Design is the visual framework of the story.

I strive to create original worlds that are based in theatrical truth and research, not because I’m looking to replicate life but rather illuminate and expand upon what could be. I believe that every actor is a “potential” character—they are cast for whom they could potentially be whether it be the girl next door or a panda bear. It’s my job to help them realize that potential in their look or in their environment without burying them in over-designed clothes or scenery. Some call me a design dramaturg.

In my teaching, I strive to share this philosophy with my students. Even if they have never designed before, it’s the life experience and the ability to tell stories that inform their work. If they can harness that energy of experience and understand how it influences their choices, they will be successful and creative design-thinkers.

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