One in every three audience members will not experience Ivo van Hove's production of Ingmar Bergman's Scenes From A Marriage the same. According to The New York Times, artistic director of Toneelgroep Amsterdam, van Hove, and production designer, Jan Versweyveld, reimagined the New York Theater Workshop and emptied out the space to make room for three separate playing spaces, each hosting its own pair of actors who represent a troubled couple in three different stages of their lives, including 20's, 30's, and 40's.
To make use of the entire 3,300 square foot theater, van Hove and Versweyveld removed the seats, eliminated the wide proscenium, and created a floor from interlocking steel platforms to make the stage level with the street. Each space has flats covered with brown velour and linen, glass windows, and curtains to separate one room from the next. Despite the use of recycled denim to insulate the spaces, sounds do infiltrate neighboring scenes.
Designated by colored wristbands from the box office, audience members are split into three groups of 60, each entering through a different entryway, either the front door, an alley, or a basement area that leads to one of the three smaller spaces carved out of the theater. Audience members see all three spaces and meet the couple in all three stages of their lives in the first act. Some guests will see the play in chronological order, while others may not. After a 30-minute intermission and the removal of the steel flats, all the audience watches the final scenes in one large playing space.
Changeover requires 11 crew members, including two stage managers, one lighting designer, one sound technician, one carpenter, and six ushers and fire guards.
To read the fascinating article in full, please visit The New York Times.
Watch the transformation of the New York Theater Workshop for this production in this time-lapse video from The New York Times.