5 Minutes With Lois…28th October 2013 by Martin Gibbons
5 minutes with…LOIS MASKELL, DESIGNER
Can you tell us a bit about the design process for FLESH? Where did you start?
Well, we knew that we had to have quite an abstract playing space, because the scenes are quite
fast paced and there are quite a few locations, so we wanted something that allowed a bit of fluidity
with the movement and delivery style. The theme really came from the play itself – the text, for me,
is all about the many different aspects of love and the types of relationships that stem from that. So
the design is made up of the pattern of the molecular structure of oxytocin, which is responsible for
many things, including hormone development, bonding between mother and child, and also social
integration and recreation.
Is it a challenge designing for a play with many locations, and one that isn’t straightforwardly
It is, I think…you kind of have to weigh up how much you need to see of each place, and how long
you’re there for…so it is quite demanding, but at the same time I find it quite liberating, because it
kind of forces you to really evaluate why things are there.
How did you come to be a theatre designer?
I studied art, actually, like Shannon in FLESH! And then I was creating environments where I was
putting myself in a performance role, and I knew I wasn’t comfortable in that role. And so I stepped
outside of that and got other people to come into those environments, but at that time I was just
photographing them, so it was about stills. So I suppose I was creating a set to give an environment, and then putting a character into it, and so I was basically doing everything but the live element. And then someone came along and said, “You should go into theatre design”, and I thought, “Ooh, right, yeah!” But I’d always loved drama and have done since I was at school, really, but never felt like a performer, and so this is where I fit into it all, I suppose!