Canal adds to Merchant set
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.