‘The set is meant to look like a PATH IN THE WOODS, very gothic and dismal.’
And with that, I was hooked. ‘Donkey Skin: A Monologue’ by Carly Chandler was a fantastical monologue from the point of view of ‘Donkey Skin’, a young woman running away from home in the dead of night. She stops to take a break and tells the audience, or whatever may be watching her, why she left – what caused her to flee to the woods.
What captivated me about this piece was the setting – the two paragraph stage directions before we reach Donkey Skin’s first lines. Every aspect of a script is vital for a performance. The strength of this one lies within its use of set and stage directions to evoke the atmosphere. While you miss what is written in the stage descriptions while watching a show, they can be a goldmine for readers seeking to discover information about the setting, the vision, and the characters.
Chandler presents us with a very gothic and dismal set that is to look like a path in the woods; exciting music indicates fast-paced action and the wood is alive with the sounds of nocturnal creatures. Then, a young woman runs onstage, ‘very much trying to look like she’s nobody important.’
The ‘gothic and dismal’ setting, combined with the extensive description, and Donkey Skin’s dialogue, make for a wonderful read. I could not help but try to picture how I might create the set, the costumes, and the soundscapes myself if I was a director.
This piece was gorgeously written – from the dialogue to the stage directions to the set. It was incredibly vivid and would make a wonderfully stunning visual experience for an audience to see – not to mention an interesting set to design.
Carly Chandler has created a dark and fantastical monologue emphasizing the potential for the set design to play a vital part in its performance.
Lara Morgan, Drama Editor
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Photo by Rudolf Jakkel: https://www.pexels.com/photo/green-grass-on-forest-418831/