Theatre requires the hands and minds of multitudes of students, ranging from actresses to lighting designers to set designers. One student who helps the stage come to life is senior Sophie Click.
Click is from Los Alamos, N.M. and came to Knox for its theatre program. She’s a chemistry major with a minor in theatrical design and technology.
In her first couple of years at Knox, Click focused on lighting design rather than set design. It wasn’t until senior Niki Acton approached her last fall term to design the set for her show, “Crumble,” that Click began to start her work with set design. She had five weeks to design the set, which consisted of a kitchen, living room and bedroom.
Click says the experience was one of the most stressful things she has done at Knox. There were several obstacles, such as working around the mainstage production being produced in Studio Theatre and thus having to drag powertools into the greenroom in order to use them.
“One night I came home and I ran my hands through my hair, and I found a chunk of wood; I hit my head on something during the course of that day and just hadn’t noticed, and I was like, ‘The stress is real, the stress is very real,’” she said.
Click recently worked on Acton’s honors project, a show titled “The Lost Girls.” She says it was in her top two favorite shows that she’s worked on at Knox. The other one was “The Devil is Bored” by Alyssa Gill ‘14.
On “Lost Girls,” Click said, “All of the actresses are phenomenal, the directing was phenomenal, the writing is phenomenal, every element of this show was to the nines. There’s something really rewarding about working with a group of exceptional people who know how to do their stuff.”
For this show, Click worked with a technical director, senior Nick Chapin, and a co-scenic designer, junior Danielle Freeman. Chapin built most of the set. Click said that one designer built the set in the past, several different people help with the design and building of a set recently.
All the designers met at the end of spring term to discuss their ideas for the show and make sure they all were on the same page. This is when Click started to flesh out her ideas for the set. “I was sitting there listening to Niki talk about “The Lost Girls” and what kind of show she wanted it to be, and suddenly I had this mental image of the layout of the stage in my head, and I sketched out the shape I was seeing, and it had all these angular, not very regular lines, and there wasn’t a single ninety degree angle in it. That’s where it kind of started,” she said.
The design for this production was heavily influenced by the mood and theme of the show. Acton described the play to the designers as, “A dream at the edge of a nightmare,” and as a result, Click designed a set that looked like a home, yet with odd qualities that showed the audience that something was a little off.
“The organization is there, but it’s also very messy. The walls are crumbling in. I originally gravitated toward this idea that the furthest upstage parts of the set were the most normal, and the furthest downstage parts of the set were the nightmare parts, so there was this teetering edge of nightmare and reality,” Click said.
Click admires the theatre department and its collaborative nature, specifically how it brings students together to work toward a common goal. For her, there is no other department on campus that works in this way.
“What honors project in any other department would involve 20 students?” she said.
While Click is passionate about theatre, she has no intentions of continuing in the field as a career or in the future. She plans on getting her PhD in chemistry and pursuing research in nanochemistry. Her ultimate goal for the future is to eventually become a high school chemistry teacher.
Yet Click reflected that every trimester at Knox has been influenced by the theatre department. From her friends to her work, it’s shaped her college experience.
“I just can’t even imagine my life at Knox without theatre,” she said.