Rent, the musical

The Good Mood Factory is engaged to design and produce the theatrical set for Rent, the Musical. Following a visit of the space, the Union Theatre, and inspirations from the original set, but also the places and characters of the story, The Good Mood Factory present a proposal to the Director and the Production team.
After the consent, required drawings are presented to the theatre managers for its final approval.
The main elements are:
Background, External scenes, internal scenes and the context.
The Background.
The inspiration is unquestionably New York, with its tower and skyscrapers that delineate its unique skyline; its smoky and busy appearance, its contrasts.
Following various studies, the ultimate option is having 6 fabric panels 1.5m wide each, covering the approximatively 9m wide of the stage, with a height that goes from 2.5 to 4m.
Starting from the typical and well-known skyline, The Good Mood Factory blends and introduce other shapes and profiles to the module, creating a unique and imaginative skyline which only reminds the one of New York but that could also be anywhere in the world.
Once the base is created, the fabrics are cut, sew and the different panels and layers are sketched. This way they are easier to be reproduced, aligned and seen all close to each other’s.
The first coat of background is given, both for the sky and the ground portion, then the skyline is drawn, aligned in all panels and finally the real painting starts. The technique is traditional, with brushes and water-based paint.
Due to the workspace limitations, two panels at the time can be developed, rolling them vertically once they dry up. The sky is yellow – orange, while the skyline is going from light grey to pitch black tones.
At the end, all is smoothed with some splashing and spraying on top, to give more the idea of smokiness and hide a bit the neat lines of the skyline.
The External Scenes
The inspiration comes from the iconic fire stairs buildings of New York, its facades, but also the poor and abandoned district of the East Village.
For this part of the Set, The Good Mood Factory uses a very different technique, the Stencil. It gives a clear and detailed result but at the same time it is more similar to the language of the street, of graffiti artists, of the characters of the show.
Once the reference image is decided, the bases of 2 stencils are created in Photoshop, one for the black and one for the colours both 2×3 meters big.
Scaled, modified, simplified, printed, joined, readjusted and finally the long task of cutting is completed, in order to give life to the final stencil to be used for painting.
The background is painted first, then the colour stencil is applied and sprayed with bricks shades, afterwards, the black stencil is used to create the shadows. The panels are concluded with necessary adjustments.

Internal Scenes
The main inspirations are the metro, the double space lofts, the industrial buildings, the bricks, the glazing and the metallic frames.
Two windows and one stairs platform are designed and produced, all to go in conjunction with the background and the side panel of the external scenes.
The platform is fixed and wants to reproduce a rusty metal, where the visible parts are painted teals and the invisible are in black, to dissolve within the stage.
The concept is easy, when the windows are down it means there is an internal scene, when the windows are up it means there is an external scene.
The Context
Ripped fabric, rubbish, posters, abandoned places, light and shadows, tags, industrial elements and reference to the art and colours of the time are just a few inspirations.
The Christmas three symbolized the time passing. That is to say when the story starts and finishes.
It is realized by metal wire and strips of splashed fabric, which hide the led lights changing colour according to the mood of the scene.
Pallets, garbage cans, car tires, tags, are other elements present on stage that remark the degraded area and the conditions of the musical characters.
Metal, ripped fabric, rust, recycled timber, paperboard, peeling and cracking, recycled bricks, are the main colours and materials used as inspirations for the look and feel.

For each element on stage there is a complete palette of colours we intend to use and then the basic ones, from which creating all the rest of them.

The Good Mood Factory was responsible for all the elements of the set, of numerous props, in addition to the installation in theatre during the bump in, various necessaries adjustments, light assistance and, to conclude, helped with the removal of everything during the bump out.


Project Facts

Client: Western Art Theatre
Location: Union Theatre, Melbourne, Australia
Date: 2015
Opening: 02/07/2015
Dimensions: Auditorium 385 Seats
Set Cost: 1.550 AUD
Props Cost: 200 AUD
Typology: Set Design
Status: Completed