Designing Fox on the Fairway
When Kristen asked me to write an essay about my design process it was all I could do not to run screaming from
the room. The reason I got into set design in the first place was because in my previous job as a podiatrist I was asked to
write an article about the process. Kidding.
To quote a pithy piece of advice my friend and more famous colleague John Lee Beatty gave me early on, "I never
make the scenery lighter than the actors, and I always work!" He never has and he still does.
"Hey Denny, want to come to Florida at the end of February and design the sets and lights for "Fox on the
Fairway?" How can you say no to that? The offer contains tantalizing clues. It's a farce. About golf. In Florida. In
February! It simply screams comedy.
Sounds easy, right? I mean it should be easy. After all what's the big deal?
Let's see what the playwright has to say.
"The Tap Room of the Quail Valley Country Club. This year."
Thanks for the help, pal.
"It's a beautiful room in a beautiful club."
Finally, something to work with. Time for a little research. Google, golf balls, golf bags, golf clubs, country
clubs, hate everything. Draw, Google, have coffee, Google, more drawing, a bit more coffee. Remember, it's a
farce. About golf.
Research done, I call the director. He wants doors. Everywhere.
"Oh, and gimme some furniture that the actors can remember not to bump into. And don't forget it's a farce.
He only sounds that way in my mind.
Add a few doors, some strategically placed furniture, a bar just for fun, more doors, wish the stage was bigger,
delete a door, a few walls to hold it all, a golf course drop out the back, some palm trees because I can, a splash of color
and we're done. See I said it was easy!
"What about the lights?" asks a guy at the back.
The switch is on the left.