Today we get to hear from Motel 666’s set designer, Sarah Watkins. This isn’t Sarah’s first rodeo when it comes to designing motel rooms, but it is her first foray into the horror genre. She opens up about being scared easily, and the exciting things she’s discovered working on the show.
Do you consider yourself a horror fan? What is your favorite genre of horror?
No, not really. Truthfully, I scare easily when it comes to horror (even action films with too much violence scare me). If I absolutely had to watch horror, I would probably stick to the classic horror stories as it’s what I grew up on.
What was the first time you encountered horror in entertainment? Was it a book, a movie, a play or something else?
I first encountered horror through film thanks to my dad showing my siblings and me Vincent Price films when we were kids.
Does designing for a horror piece present any unique challenges or opportunities? Have you done any horror theatre before, or is this your first time? What is your favorite part about designing for a horror piece (no spoilers!)
I’ve never designed horror theatre before. It may be obvious to say this, but the challenge of designing horror is to not tip your hand too soon. Everything is normal until it isn’t. What seems like a safe place isn’t. I think my favorite part about designing horror is discovering the “isn’t” as I mentioned earlier.
How have motels played a role in your life?
Professionally, this is the second production I’ve had to design a motel for, which I find fun. Motels have interesting and unique cultural and demographic characteristics that are exciting to explore. Other than that I’ve only stayed in a motel a couple of times for out-of-town weddings. It was always fun as it meant being with a lot of friends who are similarly trying to save some money by cramming into motel rooms to cut costs.
What “impossible” design challenge would you like to tackle in a horror play?
I always think that dealing with stage blood is a design challenge. I wouldn’t call it an impossible design challenge, but it certainly has many involved details that require collective thinking from all areas of production and design. I’ve had to deal with stage blood a few times, and it’s just messy business.
What is the one thing that scares you the most?
Motel 666 opens June 5 – get tickets here!