The Adding Machine


Center for the Performing Arts @ Illinois State University, Normal IL


Directed by Jeremy Garrett
Scenic Design by Jake Wasson
Costume Design by Olivia Crosby
Lighting Design by Debora Smz
Sound Design and Original Music by Robert Hornbostel


The Great Machine

For our production it was important to create an overarching mechanized feel that would force the audience to be a part of Mr Zero’s world. A key way that we implemented this was through the use of The Great Machine concept; through the use of moving lights and set pieces we created the visual effect that the whole world was moving and changing with the show, especially with scene changes. To complement this, I implemented a 16-channel speaker design that fully surrounded the audience, creating depth and grand scale in the theater. This is an excerpt of one of these scene changes; The Great Machine comes off as powerful, yet broken, with a toy-box-like playfulness, paired with the great power of earth moving mechanics. 

The Adding Machine

The Adding Machine is one of my favorite descriptive stage directions of all time, basically stating that all effect sounds you would normally hear in a theatre come to life in a cacophony of random sounds. I wanted to take some of my Great Machine ideas and add them into this effect, while giving the Adding Machine its own rhythm and life. The effect swells, filling the theater until Mr Zero can no longer take it, silenced by a single shot. 

The Fixer

The Fixer is my favorite character in this show, as he is the only one that seems to be aware of the trivial nature of the play and the characters that portray it. Essentially the Grim Reaper, the Fixer comes to Mr Zero to tell him his time is up; his entrance starts in a very spooky and haunting fashion, which is completely reversed when he lifts the hood, revealing a comical, yet cynical, New York cabbie. 


The Elysian Fields

As Mr Zero stumbles around in the afterlife, he comes across The Elysian Fields, the proverbial paradise of the show, the opposite of the world we see in Act I. The Fields transform out of the Great Machine, and take over the theater, filling it with soft music and an angelic soundscape. My main research of this was based off of the film What Dreams May Come. 

The Transition
The Fields