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Meet the set designer

Porvorim-based Yogesh Kapadi recently won first place for Best Stage Set-up for ‘Vishwamitra’ that won first place at the Marathi Drama Competition ‘A’ group organised by Kala Academy. NT BUZZ in conversation with the set designer



Having eighteen years of experience in theatre art, Yogesh Kapadi has designed 30 theatre sets so far. Over the years, he has participated in various competitions and has a list of achievements to his credit. His recent success was being awarded first place for Best Stage Set-up for ‘Vishwamitra’ that won first place at the Marathi Drama Competition ‘A’. The finals of the same competition are ongoing in Mumbai. ‘Vishwamitra’ will be staged on February 24 at the competition.

A graphic designer by profession, Kapadi completed Bachelor in Fine Arts in Commercial Art from Goa College of Art. He then worked in Mumbai as a graphic designer/visualiser for advertisement agencies and came back to Goa after gaining experience in computer designing, artwork and printing technology.

Being a student of fine art, theatre art was not something entirely different or new. “The only difference was to make my two-dimensional concept into three dimensional as theatre is a three-dimensional platform,” he says, adding that in his art he focuses more on observation rather than spending hours in the library.

Before designing the sets for the play, and upon reading through the script, a rough sketch of the set is created and then discussed with the director who then makes necessary modifications.

Once the rehearsal starts on the floor, lots of changes are made depending upon the open and used spaces. Based on these changes, the final floor plan from various angles drawn to scale is made.

Interestingly, Kapadi makes a miniature three-dimensional model showing how each set will look when finished. “The demo helps artistes to understand, because architectural or engineering plan is difficult to visualise unless you see the 3D image,” he says.

“One important aspect is that the set should never try to overpower the actor or the script. The technical sides should always support the drama,” he continues.

The designing concept involves dividing the set design into a box set and experimental set. Box sets are more realistic sets that provide the basic requirement of the story. Such sets do not speak about the theme of the script.  Their purpose is to create a location or set a tone for the audience, for example, house/office/court of law.  He says that his favourite subject is however, the experimental set as experimental set is an artistic abstract creation of the designer which travels parallel to the original script till the end of the play; it’s a deep journey of thoughts and forms and has no end. “Though, not all the stories can be expressed with experimental treatment. Many a times such sets are abstract and difficult to understand and they make you think and travel with emotions. The interpretation of such sets varies from person to person and that is the beauty of experimental set,” adds Kapadi.

The final step is engineering, wherein it is master carpenter’s job to take the working drawings and use them to build the set. The material selected for the set design should be very light for handling and transportation purposes, but it should be strong and durable for reuse over a period of time. “It is important to use engineering principles to make a foldable compact set which is easy to erect and also to dismantle so that it can be used for the next show,” says Kapadi, who also provides background music for theatre, has conducted various workshops. He has also made 16 short films on social awareness too where the concept, editing and directing are all done by him.

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