Canal adds to Mer­chant set

Central Leader - - NEWS - By JENNY LING

The ma­te­ri­als needed to build the set for Unitec’s 2014 Shake­speare sea­son sat at Brent Har­g­reaves’ place for a year.

He sourced the tim­ber to build a deck at home but never quite got around to it.

But the set de­signer didn’t need much prompt­ing to turn it into a scene from Venice.

Har­g­reaves man­aged to trans­form the Unitec theatre in just two weeks – some­thing his wife couldn’t have been too happy about.

‘‘Fran­cois Truf­faut [a French film di­rec­tor] said ‘it takes a very lazy per­son to work very hard for some­one else’.

‘‘I think it means you won’t fix the deck­ing for yourself, but you’ll spend all day work­ing to build some­thing like this.’’

The deck­ing sur­rounds a small ‘‘canal’’ filled with wa­ter. It is the set for both The Mer­chant of Venice and Twelfth Night. They play on al­ter­nate nights from tonight un­til June 7.

Two com­pa­nies of 10 third year ac­tors have cre­ated the shows. The Mer­chant of Venice is be­ing di­rected by Elena Ste­jko while Ben Crow­der di­rects Twelfth Night.

Har­g­reaves is a lec­turer in Unitec’s per­form­ing and screen arts depart­ment.

He has been a pro­duc­tion de­signer on many New Zea- land tele­vi­sion pro­grammes in­clud­ing Or­ange Roughies, Let­ter to Blanchy and More Is­sues.

But this is his ‘‘most ex­trav­a­gant’’ set de­sign, he says.

The canal uses five lay­ers of plas­tic to keep the 4500 litres of wa­ter off the floor. The wa­ter will be drained af­ter each show and re­filled for the next one. Har­g­reaves hopes it won’t leak.

‘‘It’s a huge amount

of work,’’ he says. ‘‘It’s a bit ter­ri­fy­ing re­ally, if it goes wrong.

‘‘If it leaks I’m sure I’ll get sacked.’’

Su­per set: The Mer­chant of Venice wouldn’t be the same with­out a real canal which Brent Har­g­reaves was happy to de­sign for Unitec’s up­com­ing Shake­speare sea­son.

De­sign DIY: Brent Har­g­reaves and Twelfth Night di­rec­tor Ben Crow­der on set.

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