Sketch by Samuel Steer

I have tried to keep the stage requirements flexible. Ideally I would prefer 4 sided seating with a multi-level acting area, tho in practice intelligent compromises can be made in the specification wherever limitations oblige.

In general, The Watcher in the Rain requires no set, just props and effects. The period is 1920 Paris and so there should be a stylish Train Bleu feel, but it should never obtrude.

It is an important component of the imagery that there is a higher plane to which some characters at times have access. This could be suggested in a number of ways, but ideally by a catwalk around the edge of the acting area at a height of about 4-5M with a ladder (or preferably spiral staircase) onto the stage in one, the 'northwest', corner. There should be exits in all four corners.

In the NW corner of the stage, near the steps, there should be a brass-knobbed semi-double bed, with a small headless single bed at it's foot, nearest the audience. In the NE corner a couple of shabby armchairs. In the SE corner an old upright piano. It shouldn't be in tune - in fact the more Ives-ian the better!

If the auditorium admits of it I would like the whole acting area (& seating) to be about 1.5M off the floor. This would permit the SW quadrant of the stage (say, approx 1/8th of the acting area) to be at a lower level with an exit at the outer edge and steps running diagonally up to the centre. For convenience I refer to this area as 'the pool'.

In the text I specify the interactive use of video - why not, it's easy to be extravagant with other people's money! Ideally there would be 4 fixed cameras, 1 cushioned-mounted in the middle of each catwalk, feeding 4 audience monitor on each catwalk (a total of 16) - so that each section of the audience has 4 simultaneous views covering the full 360° of the stage, plus their own viewpoint. During the pre-recorded dialogs some of the monitors are switched to tape. This is neither as complex or costly as it might seem, the cameras aren't required to move and it could easily be done on the most basic semi-pro equipment.

I am realistic enough to appreciate that the video &/or other demands may not always be practicable given current theatrical stringencies: but this is how I imagined it.

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