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Therese Raquin

by Helen Edmundson based on the Novel by Emile Zola
Roundabout Theatre Company, Studio 54
Directed by Evan Cabnet
Costumes by Jane Greenwood, Lighting by Keith Parham
2015

2016 Tony Award Nomination
2016 Outer Critic's Circle Award Nomination

Therese Raquin Set video



Keira Knightley

Keira Knightley
Keira Knightley
Keira Knightley and Matt Ryan

Keira Knightley and Matt Ryan
Gabriel Ebert, Keira Knightley and Matt Ryan

    
Gabriel Ebert, Keira Knightley and Matt Ryan
     
Gabriel Ebert, Keira Knightley and Matt Ryan
Gabriel Ebert, Keira Knightley and Matt Ryan
David Patrick Kelly, Jeff Sill, Ray Virta, Matt Ryan, Alex Mickiewicz, Judith Light, Mary Wiseman, Sara Topham, Glynis Bell, and Keira Knightley
Keira Knightley, Matt Ryan, Judith Light, David Patrick Kelly, Jeff Sill, and Mary Wiseman

Article about the set in Theatermania
Article about the set in Broadway World
Article about the set in Live Design Magazine
Article including Therese Raquin set in The New York Times
Article about the set in Playbill
Article including Therese Raquin set in Playbill
Radio Interview about the set with WAMC

"No disrespect to Keira Knightley, whose bristling performance in the title role of Therese Raquin ranges compellingly from suffocated imprisonment through ecstatic liberation to haunted hysteria, but the real star ... is the design team. Beginning with an austere canvas of deadening gray that engulfs the play's antiheroine, Beowulf Boritt's imaginative sets — daubed in lighting designer Keith Parham's painterly shadings — boldly evoke the loveless marriage at the center of Emile Zola's novel ... "Where will you take me?" Therese asks the river. "Let it be somewhere light. Somewhere beautiful. Let me live." Even while she's speaking, the answer begins its descent from above in designer Boritt's first stunning coup de theatre, as the dark Paris apartment to which the family of three relocates fills the stage, like a mahogany coffin... When Therese sneaks out one night to visit Laurent in the garret beneath a skylight (another breathtaking design stroke from Boritt) where he lives, it becomes obvious that Camille has got to go. The book's famous drowning scene is one of the production's high points, preceded by a teasing, tantalizing buildup and then played out viscerally in an onstage river... The production provides a feast for the eyes in the work of Boritt, Parham and costumer Jane Greenwood."  ~David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

 

" The importance of excellent scenic design is often overlooked... But, occasionally, the design becomes such a critical part of the overall success of the theatrical experience, that one wonders how plays and musicals are attempted without the best, illuminating set design possible. ... So it is with the remarkable design from Beowulf Boritt for Roundabout’s production of Thérèse Raquin... Boritt’s design is an integral part of the emotional and dramatic fabric of the production and, without it, this production might be limp and ineffectual. Boritt uses space sensationally here. At times, the full extent of the stage is exposed, height, depth and breadth on show, signifying, deliciously, the freedom of the world. The floor extends to half the depth of the stage where it meets water which runs the length of the stage. The water represents escape, nature, cleansing. Its constant presence is tantalising and one yearns to splash and swim. Four tall pillars frame one side of the stage and, unfeasibly delicately, suggest confinement, repression, imprisonment. Looked at one way, the stage might be a window to the world from a locked tower – an abstract, perhaps, of the kind of view Rapunzel might have gazed upon daily ... The image is instantly identifiable; undeniably French, emotive, sensual. But the palette is unfamiliar – Browns and golds; like a sepia image of Monet’s work to which potent colour is added. It’s hauntingly atmospheric. Then, the house where Thérèse Raquin lives is flown in. All darkness, old-world fusty, cramped and cluttered, the two rooms we see seem very small against the largeness of the freedom space. The ceilings are low – the sense of being caged, trapped or imprisoned, surrounded by decay, is tangible; you almost feel like your own breath is constricted, for fear of inhaling the dust of the past that so freely swirls in those rooms. Boritt’s set is so eloquent that pages of dialogue are saved by it. There is no need to labour the situation in which the titular character finds herself as the action begins. Just seeing her in the vast open space and contrasting that to the tension in the cramped household of Madame Raquin, as controlling a malevolent matriarch as can be found in modern literature, establishes clearly the desperate nature of Thérèse’s plight." ~Stephen Collins, British Theatre.com

 

"The sets by Beowulf Boritt, which range from minimalist backdrops to French apartments that descends from the rafters to an actual body of water that opens up through the boards, will keep audiences captivated – every scene change bears a detail that’s either subtle or dazzling." ~Stephan Lee, Entertainment Weekly

 

"On a spectacular set from the redoubtable Beowulf Boritt that is at once expressionistic, operatic and aquatic... Boritt's set, with its lovers boxes' floating in air and fatalistic pool of water below, is not only quite the experience but a fascinating attempt to contrast the lovers' world with the prosaic milieu of the petty bourgeoise." ~Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

 

"Beowulf Boritt designed the easy-on-the-eye Monet-style set." ~Terry Teachout, Wall Street Journal

 

"The other star here is the ravishing production design by Beowulf Boritt (he won the Tony last year for "Act One"). The Studio 54 stage initially looks too cavernous for such an intimate drama, until Boritt begins slicing, dicing and partitioning it, alternately evoking a country house, the cramped Paris apartment  of the Raquins, the attic apartment of Laurent, and -- in one sequence-- the Seine River. For this latter conjuring act, Boritt has built a three-feet-deep pool of water at the back of the stage -- and the effect is visually dazzling, but never distracting from the gripping psychological warfare unfolding on the stage." ~Christopher Kelly, NJ.com

 

"Beowulf Boritt’s astonishing set — a massive horizontal structure of dark woods and gloomy furnishings that swoops down from the flies like a raptor — visually conveys that ominous feeling of being buried alive." ~Marilyn Stasio, Variety

 

"Darkness surrounds Beowulf Boritt's imposing and intricately constructed set" ~Chris Kompanek, Huffington Post

 

"The painterly set and lighting are by Beowulf Boritt and Kevin Parham." ~Alexis Soloski, London Guardian

 

"That grimness is beautifully realized, at least; Beowulf Boritt’s sets, lit exquisitely by Keith Parham, are all gesso and grisaille, suggesting a prepared canvas with no painting on it. (Laurent fancies himself a painter.) A pool of water takes up the back half of the stage, and if you know the novel you know why. When the Raquins move to the city so that Camille can feed his grandiosity on a bigger stage, their new apartment, black and oblong as a coffin, descends from the flies like a huge steel press." ~Jesse Green, Vulture.com

 

"Perhaps the show's biggest star isn't Knightley at all but Beowulf Boritt, whose set design is remarkable and sublime. It's not every day you see a rowboat floating on a Broadway stage but Boritt has embraced the water as a key element in Therese's psyche and it literally shimmers. He and lighting designer Keith Parham have mixed airy, empty space for the country — an Impressionistic image of moss and rock fills the back wall — and an oppressive, dark wood interior for life after her marriage. An attic where the lovers meet is literally floating, as if powered by love itself." ~ AP

 

Beowulf Boritt’s arresting (and restless) designs embrace painterly abstraction and an onstage river as well as a detailed Parisian abode that at one point looks as if it is going to swallow Therese whole. ~Matt Wolf, London Telegraph

 

"In a neat effect, a trough at the rear of the stage stands in for the river, allowing for a graphic view of Laurent shoving the desperate, non-swimming Camille into the splashing water, a death Laurent later attributes to an accident. Indeed, the entire evocative, painterly set design by Beowulf Boritt is one of the production's highlights." ~Robert Feldberg, North Jersey.com

 

"Beowulf Boritt’s sets are gorgeous: the backdrop of endless sky; the sloshing river of real water; the dark cramped Raquin home that mechanically falls into place before our eyes; Laurent’s attic apartment, suspended in mid-air and surrounded by the stars. These sets, in concert with Jane Greenwood’s costumes, Keith Parham’s lighting and Josh Schmidt’s sound design and musical underscoring, beautifully track the changes in mood and in the very plot. The sky and the water and the very walls feel like characters themselves." ~Jonathan Mandell, DC Theatre Scene

 

"Sets by Beowulf Boritt hold unquestionable weight and majesty -- gruesome majesty, like a fairytale gone wrong. He has somehow brought a river to midtown Manhattan, with Ruby Foo's on one side and Columbus Circle on the other. But the water does not possess the calming swoosh of the ocean, or the unbreakable stillness of a lake. It's ominous, the stage lights casting shadows upon its surface; you feel the ache of a storm coming." ~ Alexandra Villarreal, Huffington Post


"The most interesting feature of this show... is Beowulf Boritt's sets, lit with visual alacrity by Keith Parham." ~New Yorker

 

"Sets, designed by Beowulf Boritt, gracefully slide in fine bourgeois furniture and slide down the windows that close off all options for these doomed, guilty people." ~Linda Winer, Newsday

 

"Thérèse Raquin has been splashed high, wide and handsome against a spectacular Beowulf Boritt set — and a river runs through it." ~Harry Haun, Playbill

 

"Beowulf Boritt’s Parisian set — an apartment above a haberdashery — creaks with psychological stuffiness, and bursts into Monet-like backdrops when the characters are outdoors.  A rear-stage ribbon of water provides a poetic location for the lovers to rid themselves of Camille." ~Brendan Lemon, Financial Times

 

"Gorgeously understated mounting of Helen Edmundson's adaptation looks like a somewhat faded oil painting come to life. Designers Beowulf Boritt (set), Jane Greenwood (costumes) and Keith Parham (lights) offer visuals that evoke the naturalism movement in art that was inspired by Zola. The walls of Thérèse home suggest a prison. The garret where she releases her passion with Laurent is suspended in the air as if it were heaven. When a river is needed, there's enough water to row a boat. Though never slowly paced the evening offers many breathtakingly still moments worthy of framing." ~Michael Dale, Broadway World


"With a strangely beautiful set that almost has a perfectly macabre feel thanks the brilliant set designer Beowulf Boritt."    ~Joseph Cervelli, NJ.com



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