Meet the Crew: Josh Friedensohn, Technical Director, Scenic Designer

Josh HeadshotMeet Josh Friedensohn, VTG’s Technical Director and Scenic Designer for Supergravity and the Eleventh Dimension! Josh will soon be leaving Boston to study Technical Direction and Production at California Institute of the Arts. His ultimate goal? Working on a Star Wars movie!

If theatre is not your full-time job, what do you do on the side?
Up until a few weeks ago, I worked at Electric Boat in New London, CT designing submarines for the US Navy. You know, “on the side.” If I told you any more, I’d have to kill you.

What has been your favorite thing about working on the play so far?
I’m really enthralled by the script and how many layers really exist in this play. It’s been a lot of fun discussing them with James and fellow crew members to see what elements of the show we want to bring to life technically, and how we’re going to accomplish them. As usual, this Vagabond show is chock full of technical and artistic challenges, and it’s always enjoyable to mesh those two sides.

What do you think is the most challenging thing about your design for this show? Why are you looking forward to making it work?
SPACE. No, not the final frontier. The scenes in this show vary from a real physical cabin to ethereal space to specific memories from the characters’ lives. It’s been challenging to decide how to use the space available to us at the Factory Theatre to give life to these scenes, and also to differentiate them from each other. Based on the conversations and designs we have going, and how the actors will interact with the space, we’re going to use these distinctions to our advantage. We’ll be orienting the seating and staging in a way that’s not common to the Factory, so that opens up a slew of new options that will surely add to the complexity of the play.

Have you ever been fascinated by a certain aspect of science?
Have I ever! Gosh, where to begin? I think the most fascinating thing to me has always been the mind-body problem. It’s somewhat of a philosophical issue, but basically it states that the brain exists as cells, synapses, electrical impulses. So when you say “I moved my arm,” you’re really talking about the electrical firings that went off in your brain to cause you to move your arm. But many people have a problem believing that all their thoughts and actions are just governed by these scientific reactions and differentiate between “I moved my arm” and “My arm moved.” Is there such a thing as consciousness that exists outside the physical manifestation of your brain? Science would say no, but believers in “free will” might argue differently.

If someone were to read your fortune (a la Carmen in the play), what do you think it would say?
“Some men dream of the fortune. Others dream of the cookie.”


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