By Shirley Guzman
A duo of directors led the second Brown Bag discussion titled “Putting it Together — the Art of Collaboration” on Friday at the Ernest and Mildred E. Mayo Concert Hall. The lecture was presented by Maureen Heffernan, a professor in the arts and communications department at the College, and Ray Recht, a scenic designer with experience on and off Broadway.
Heffernan and Recht discussed the behind the scenes process of developing a show from beginning to end. According to Heffernan and Recht, different genres and themes of plays affect how the set design is created.
The way a scene is designed plays a huge role in having the audience have a feel for what the play is about. Recht emphasized how the lighting of the stage can really affect the set up of the stage and bring focus to a specific area of the scene. Herffernan and Recht have both collaborated on scene designs over the years and were able to provide feedback on how important it is to equally share ideas when collaborating with others.
Heffernan is also the director of Young Audiences New Jersey, a program designed to inspire and strengthen the creativity of children across the country through workshops and assemblies that help kids connect art to life.
The professor is also involved in the Emerging Artists Creativity Hub, a Saturday 10-week program for teen artists ages 13-17 at the College. Furthermore, Heffernan led the workshop “96 Hours” this past summer as part of the Aruba International Film Festival which focused on film production, acting and creative writing.
Ray Recht is a professor of Theatre Arts at Marymount Mahnattan College in New York City. He has also designed for Theaters, Films, Television and “Saturday Night Live” Spoof Commercials.
Examples of some of the plays which he helped design are “How I learned to Drive,” “Rabbit Hole” and “Shirley Valentine.” “Rabbit Hole” takes place at a home so Recht designed the stage to look like a house with different rooms. His hard work led him to win the 2006-2007 Abbie Award for Best Scenic Designer.