Randy Rasmussen's most memorable Plan-B set design

Randy Rasmussen

Randy Rasmussen

Randy Rasmussen has designed nearly every Plan-B set, beginning with MACBETH in 1992. Most recently he designed lighting for the revival of GUTENBERG! THE MUSICAL! and sets for SHE WAS MY BROTHER, MESA VERDE and BORDERLANDS.

Efficient. Minimal. Sparse. These are the words that, if I am lucky enough, people use to describe my scenery. I hope they get that it isn’t always a budget choice that drives the look of Plan-B shows. The real goal is not always entertainment with big flashy sets. So how do we stimulate minds and create social change with shows? Movies provide easy, concrete images and they struggle when they need something more abstract. Theatre is just the opposite. If you let it, the abstract is so easy and the audience will do all the work. My hope is that by leaving things out, the audience immediately knows they have to engage their imaginations. When that happens it is so much easier for their emotions and heart to jump along for the ride. If the audience can become sympathetic with a character and they will leave with an entirely different perspective on the world. That’s all we do or at least that’s what we hope for.

The shows I remember most are the ones that cost next to nothing. See, I believe that we create our reality by the dreams and choices we pursue. It’s not like I think someone can think themselves sick but I do think you might be able to think yourself less sick. Anyway. Sometimes I get to kinda stew with a project a while and stuff just kinda appears around me that is perfect for what we are doing and generally the right size if not already the right color. Seriously the shit just appears!

April Fossen and Christy Summerhays - photo credit Rick Pollock

April Fossen and Christy Summerhays - photo credit Rick Pollock

Pick the most memorable one? Pick ONE? Kinda hard but recently I had a good time with MESA VERDE/ It was made mostly with recycled parts from a University of Utah Lyric Opera and parts from DI ESPERIENZA – who knows how long we have had some of it. It wasn’t prefect the deck was wiggly and squeaky and the paint didn’t dry as fast as I wanted it to, but wow did it look good! The black-on-black thing I saw on native pots and once I saw it used at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. It was a bit of a risk but we do that sometimes. The show looks like it was floating in space: thanks Jesse [Portillo, lighting designer], and the actors [April Fossen, Christy Summerhays, Teresa Sanderson] were flawless. Thanks Cheryl [Ann Cluff, director]. Great script Matt [hew Ivan Bennett, playwright]. Just another perfect little show. Hope you saw it.

Please click here for information on Plan-B’s 2011/12 season, featuring three world premieres by Utah playwrights (all with sets designed by Randy Rasmussen)!

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