The Overcoat

Assistant Scenic Designer

A movement-based performance telling the story of a common clerk’s sudden rise in ambition born of his desire for an overcoat.

This scenic landscape is a physical manifestation of the story's core themes: the crushing weight of societal neglect, the fleeting nature of material satisfaction, and the ghostly repercussions of unfulfilled desires. Through innovative use of space, the set transitions seamlessly between the claustrophobic confines of Akaky's office and the boundless realms of his aspirations and eventual downfall. This invites the audience into a visual journey that echoes the clerk's emotional and existential odyssey. With movement and dance integrated into this visually compelling environment, the design offered a unique experience that underscores the narrative's exploration of ambition, loss, and the human condition.

Previsualization Rendering

Early concept ideation

The use of a modular, adaptable set relates to the constructivist emphasis on functional, mutable structures. It allows for fluid transitions between the oppressive office environment and the expansive, dream-like sequences that the overcoat facilitates. This flexibility in the set design supports the narrative's fluidity and the fleeting nature of Akaky's new-found social status.

Drafting and Schematic Design

The design leverages stark contrasts—using monochromatic tones to depict Akaky's mundane reality against vivid, unexpected bursts of color and shape that signify the overcoat's transformative power. The set reflects the inner turmoil and aspirations of the protagonist but also creates a visual metaphor for the clash between individual identity and societal expectations.