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Theatre professor lends expertise to Portland Center Stage production

April 02, 2013

Portland Center Stage’s (PCS) production of Bruce Norris’ Clybourne Park had help from a Lewis & Clark expert—Michael Olich, associate professor of theatre.

Olich stepped in as scenic designer, creating a house seen during two distinct time periods, 1959 and 2009. As Portland Monthly explains, “Theatre pros must figure out how to turn a ’50s living room into 21st-century dilapidation while resonating with their audiences.” From wainscoting to wallpaper, inventive construction and intricate planning transform the set during intermission. Said Olich, “Everything that Norris didn’t write, I had to ‘write.’”

Working with PCS led to great opportunities for Olich’s students. “My students watch me throughout the design process, which ultimately leads to the final design scheme for the production,” Olich said. “On Clybourne Park, director Chris Coleman invited me to bring one of my upper-level design students to the first design meeting. From there, I shared each process step with my students so that they could see how choices were developed and changes were made.”

Pulitzer- and Tony-winning Clybourne Park runs from April 6 through May 5 at Portland Center Stage.

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