Designers collaborate for upcoming ‘Ice Glen’ production

Baylor Theatre’s final mainstage production of the semester, “Ice Glen,” is opening Nov. 27 and will run through Dec. 1. The show is being directed by Los Angeles third-year graduate student Cooper Sivara. He and his designers have collaborated to create a cohesive show. Thomas Moran | Arts and Life Editor

Thomas Moran | Art and Life Editor

With “Dear Edwina” and “Godspell” in the books, Baylor Theatre has only one more mainstage production this semester­— “Ice Glen.” With most plays spanning around two hours in length, it can be difficult to fully grasp the countless hours the cast and crew invest into each show, particularly when the majority of the individuals involved in the show are never seen.

“Ice Glen” has three main crews: the lighting crew, the scenic crew and the costume crew. Under the direction of Los Angeles third-year graduate student Cooper Sivara, the show will feature original musical compositions to contribute to the show’s meaning and aesthetic.

All of the designers attend regular meetings with the director to unify their ideas and ensure the director’s thoughts are reflected in what they produce. Sivara’s vision was largely influenced by Massachusetts, where the show takes place.

“I was very inspired by the place and came back and shared those discoveries with my designers,” Sivara said. “We started talking about the main ideas of the play and that really started coming out through the design process.”

Lafayette, Colo., senior Talbot Jenkins is the costume designer for “Ice Glen.”

“It’s a 22-week process for Baylor,” Jenkins said. “At the very beginning all of the designers talk with the director and he gives us a concept to direct where the show is going. Then we each start gathering ideas and doing research and rough sketches.”

In charge of wardrobe, makeup and hair, Jenkins said she is trying to combine the historical context with the emotional state of the characters.

“I really wanted to focus on using the colors and textures and silhouettes to show their states,” Jenkins said. “It’s telling you something about the characters that the actor’s voice or dialogue doesn’t tell you.”

The costume crew is currently working on final fittings.

Grandbury junior Kiersten Mathis is the lighting designer for “Ice Glen.” As with every designer for the show, Mathis was selected as lighting designer after taking design classes and submitting a portfolio for review. Mathis said the show calls for more natural lighting, other than a few special moments.

“When it comes to ‘Ice Glen,’ a lot of the time, the lighting is very realistic,” Mathis said. “A lot of it is going to be very natural and feel like the sun is shining on them, playing off the colors of the set. We have these things called
‘moments of magic’ in the play, where I do add color and it feels a little more hyper-realistic. Things are just more colorful and vibrant.”

Mathis and her team are now in the process of hanging and focusing the lights how and where she planned them.

Temple native and former Baylor student Brad Lamotte is in his second year on Baylor Theatre’s staff. He serves as the assistant technical director and is the scenic designer for “Ice Glen.” Lamotte said he is filling the scenic designer position while students take required courses that will qualify them for the position. The set design has been challenging, but the result is going to be beautiful, Lamotte said.

“I really challenged myself on this show largely because, generally when I design stuff, it’s very literal,” Lamotte said. “I wanted to try to step out of that and try be more abstract in my thinking because we were trying to create, through one set, a bunch of different locations … We are trying to do a more watercolor aesthetic. I think collectively visually the show will be stunning because of how it’s being painted.”

Though most plays do not feature original musical elements, Sivara decided to incorporate original compositions in the production, and Lafayette, La. junior Caroline Munsell was selected as composer.

“He thought they [original composition] would help with answering the question of how we would go about doing some of the transitions from scene to scene and moment to moment and also just heightening what he calls the ‘magical moments’ of the play where the lines of reality are a little bit blurred,” Munsell said.

Munsell is working with instruments like piano and the glockenspiel in her compositions. To achieve balance between the show’s realism and its occasionally impressionist aesthetic, she is also working with a sound designer to combine her instrumental music with synthesizers and other more contemporary sounds for unique storytelling that complements the storyline.

“I want the music to be a part of the moment itself, maybe expressing how the characters are feeling or capturing the moments where reality is a little bit blurred,” Munsell said. “The music can help signify to the audience that this is a moment in itself, even if it’s not quite a linear moment. “

With Thanksgiving break approaching, the show’s tech week is taking place next week, though it’s normally the week before a show’s opening. Tech week is particularly aimed at fine tuning and synchronizing every minuscule element of each crew’s work, be it lighting, costume or scenic design.

Sivara said he has enjoyed the highly collaborative design process, with each designer’s unique creativity being reflected in the final product.

“I’m able to work with such creative people throughout the department,” Sivara said. “We actually have student designers and faculty designers, so you get all these different perspectives and different opinions. It’s just fantastic. We’ve all been working so collaboratively.”

“Ice Glen” opens Nov. 27 and will run through Dec. 1. For more information about dates and showings, visit Baylor Theatre’s website at