BWW Interviews: DARE TO DREAM Scenic Designer Stan Meyer
Read BroadwayWorld's interview with Stan Meyer, Scenic Designer for Disney On Ice presents "Dare to Dream." This month, the show comes to Sacramento (Feb 13-18), San Jose (Feb 20-24), and Oakland (Feb 27 - March 3). More information and tickets can be found at http://disney.go.com/disneyonice/.
Q: How was Disney On Ice presents Dare to Dream different than other projects you have worked on?
A: Disney On Ice presents Dare to Dream was my first ice show, so before I started working on this project, I went to see a show. What I noticed was the fluidity of the movement and the art that goes into the skating. From a purely performance point of view, the movement and the fluidity really played into what I thought needed to be the design of the show. I approached Disney On Ice presents Dare to Dream like an opera or a ballet. It has more of an operatic scale within the movement and choreography, rather than a theatrical or a musical theater scale.
Q: What was your overall vision for the set in this show?
A: My overall vision for Disney On Ice presents Dare to Dream was to tie the three Disney Princess stories together with the thematic patterns that run throughout all of the stories. In the movie Tangled, Rapunzel does a lot of painting and she paints many shapes on the walls, which I call "little girl's graffiti." Those shapes and forms that she paints resemble the shapes and forms that are in the backgrounds of both the Cinderella and The Princess and the Frog segments of the show. The shapes repeat over and over. I also tried to feature those same shapes in my scenic design.
Q: Describe the creative process for the show. What went on behind the scenes?
A: The creative process for the show was very fast-paced; there was a lot of back-and-forth discussion between the director, Patty Vincent, the producers and myself to come up with ideas to solve the design issues at hand. The set needed to facilitate the staging that Patty wanted to use while also being able to break down into sections that could travel on the tour.
Q: What do you find most exciting about the set?
A: There is so much to love about this show. The thing I really like is that there are a lot of surprises. I also think that some of the design is unexpected. For example, with The Princess and the Frog set, we made the choice to go with a rich, sumptuous tomato-soup color. It's a sultry, hot, New Orleans color that has apparently not been used before in an ice show as far as this type of presentation. I was really happy that we were breaking some new ground; it was so unexpected. I think the color gives a flavor for the film, the animation and the location, as well as a sense of the film and its characters.
Q: What is your favorite part in the creative process?
A: My favorite part in the creative process as a designer and an artist was being in the shop and working with the artists and craftspeople. I love the design process and creating, but I really love watching everything I've designed come to life - and being a part of that. I don't get a chance to do that with every show, so any time I get the opportunity to do that, I love it. And, it's really fun because you're part of a team. You're collaborating. Everybody is working together to make the dream come true.
Q: What aspect of the set will surprise audiences?
A: Without revealing too many details,I was super-excited the very first time I saw Rapunzel's hair get cut off and waft down to the ice. It's a really emotional, super dramatic moment in the show. In a very theatrical way, I think the set facilitates the same sort of feeling that the animation portrayed.
Q: What was the collaboration with the other departments like?
A: Working on this show was a highly collaborative effort with quick feedback given from Director Patty Vincent, Choreographer Cindy Stuart and the rest of the creative team, including Costume Designer Ivan Ingermann. We spent a lot of time talking and communicating from the very beginning and throughout the creative process, sitting down with the producers, creating the white model and talking about color. Ivan and I had many discussions about which color fabrics to use and what patterns and textures to use. My job is made a little bit easier when I can communicate to everybody what it is that I want to design.
Q: Tell us one interesting detail or aspect about creating the set that someone not involved would never know or think about.
A: Someone who is not involved in creating the show would not know that things have a tendency to get wet because of the ice; the average person would probably think that since it's a solid surface, things would stay dry. Knowing that the surface is ultimately water plays a large part in what we can create and how we can create it. We give more care to the types of materials and fabrics we choose and we use more caution in our construction methodology. For example, Rick Papineau, Vice President of Scenic Elements, reminded us not to use cotton fabrics or anything that absorbs. Materials had to be polyester. They had to be able to be in an ice rink environment without getting mildew on them.
Q: This show is centered on dreams. What is your dream for families who see this show?
A: I want families to take away a really momentous experience together, something they share while watching this show. I hope that years later there is dialogue like: "Remember, Mom and Dad, when you took me to see Dare to Dream, and they sailed up into the air on her hair?" I love creating those kinds of moments. I want people to leave with a family experience that bonded them together because of watching something spectacular that made them feel a particular way. For example, when the audience sees the finale of the show, it is quintessential Disney. It gives you goosebumps, and you bond with your family in that moment. When you have a fantastic night or day out at the show, it's something you will always remember - and you remember it together as a family, not individually.