conceived by Michael Rohd
Northwestern University
May 2006
Directed by Michael Rohd
Set design by Alan Schwanke
Costume design by Chantal Calato

click image to advance

Tremble was a theatre piece devised around a single idea:  an individual being swept into a greater whole.  Creator Michael Rohd asked his cast and design team to consider questions relating to this theme.  What causes a person to become part of something larger than oneself?  What are the feelings that accompany such an event?  Collaborators were encouraged to contribute examples of this idea—legends, history, personal experience, music—that could be explored as a group.  Movement rehearsals experimented with the possible configurations of individuals and groups in the space.  The goal was a fully developed work, with text, movement, and visual and sound design.

As a team, designers attended rehearsals and built the visual world up alongside the creation of the movement and text.  The visual elements reflected the idea of a single person being drawn into a greater experience– an exposed the back wall, emphasizing the space as larger than the theatrical definition of the stage; a mass of different chairs, unified in white paint, served as the only furniture;  costumes used silhouettes tailored to individuals, but unified the company in an off-white color palette.

At movement rehearsals, Michael Rohd experimented with space by juxtaposing individuals with crowds of bodies.  The development of movement throughout the piece influenced the division of the stage into four lighting areas.  Each quadrant would be treated separately or unified with the others by lighting choices.  The color palette of the lighting supported the design concept of a no-color palette, but used variations of cool and warm tints to separate or unify the areas.  Choices of lighting angles further served to unify the stage composition, or to sculpt and separate groups of bodies across the stage.