The Society of British Theatre Designers

Staging Places: UK Design for Performance 2015-2019 (Image: Performing Architects)

The Talented Mr Ripley

The Talented Mr Ripley
  • Production: The Talented Mr Ripley
  • Company: Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch
  • Year: 2010
  • Author: Phyllis Nagy
  • Directed by: Bob Carlton
  • Lighting Design by: Matt Eagland
  • Costume Design by: Claire Lyth
  • Set designed by: Claire Lyth
  • Photography by: Claire Lyth
  • Design © Claire Lyth
  • Image © Claire Lyth
The writer refers to a "multiple time element whereby Ripley operates simultaneously in two different time frames", and that the set should suggest "limitless open space and horizon". This had to be my starting point. It needed to be a concept set with indications of locations. The locations range from New York and the Bahamas, to various cities in Italy and there are a number of split scenes. It is set in the 1950's, so I thought projections of period travel posters would give the locations, together with a period feel. I felt that a surround of clouds that could be projected on would provide the space. I looked at op art images for inspiration for the floor, which had started earlier than I at first realised. The idea became an image of Ripley's mind - uncontrollable waves, with two eyes concealed in the middle.