While the pre-show buzz surrounding the Guthrie’s production of Pride and Prejudice has been all about Mad Men’s Vincent Kartheiser returning home to play the role of Mr. Darcy, the post-show discussion is likely to focus on the astonishing sets created by designer Alexander Dodge.
Dodge is responsible for visually recreating the world of Regency England and the sense of elegance and refinement that comes with it. “It’s a rambling novel, where things happen all over,” Dodge says. “It’s important to keep the action flowing, without much fuss.” To maintain the play’s momentum from scene to scene, Dodge settled on the metaphor of dance. “Dancing is important in the book, so I want the movement of the sets to be dance-like.”
His solution is to use turntables, one running inside the other. The inner turntable has an interior wall unit, while the outer one uses an exterior colonnade. Both can swirl about in all different directions to create a multitude of different locations and spaces. Above is a skyscape in the style of romantic landscape painter J. M. W. Turner.
Mr. Darcy may attract his share of attention, but so too will Dodge’s gorgeous sets. July 6–Aug. 31. Guthrie Theater, 612-377-2224, guthrietheater.org