Set & Costumes
The set design for Once Five Years Pass was collaboratively created by the ensemble, rather than by an outside designer. By doing so, The WInter Project intended to create an environment that would inspire the actors in their creation and performance of the piece, support thematic elements of the story, and also stimulate the audience.
Several settings are unquestionably indoors, while others occur in a surreal dreamscape that may take place outside, or in the interior landscape of a character's mind, or even in some unrecognizable place. The characters wrestle with the maņana disease, and as a result they live in an imagined future or sentimental memories.
At the opening of the play the audience is presented with a large open space between two elevated platforms. The entire space is shrouded with white fabric that covers indistinct lumps of objects scattered throughout the playing space. The image may evoke a shut-up and dust-covered home library filled with furniture protected for future use, or maybe the shroud hides precious memories. The action of the first two segments of the play takes place in this environment. In the third segment the white shroud lifts into the air and forms a canopy over the playing space, revealing the vintage furniture underneath. This space creates an outdoor atmosphere at odds with the previous setting. At the end of the performance the canopy will fall, once again shrouding the performance space, this time for the character of the Young Man, who dies at the end of the play.
The costumes for Once Five Years Pass are the unifying visual element of the play. Since one character in the play is an article of clothing (the Wedding Dress), the costumes must have a presence and life of their own. Vintage period clothing provides a richness of texture, depth of color, and unique silhouette as well as informing the actors movement and characterizations.