Music plays a role in Act 2 of the play when the four decide to dance. George first plays Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, before Martha decides to put on something jazzier. The Ford’s props department found this console stereo on a shopping mission in North Carolina. The records George and Martha have in their collection in the Ford’s production include the jazz musician Sydney Bechet.
Alcohol is flowing throughout the production, as George and Martha take turns as barkeep. In the rehearsal room, the cast and prop designers worked together to decide what alcohol-free beverages tasted best. A good idea considering the cast goes through a lot in one performance!
In the show, George describes this painting as “…a pictorial representation of the order of Martha’s mind,” which tells us more about George than it does about Martha. The design team searched through 1950’s abstract paintings looking for one with the right energy. The swirling colors and chaotic layering gives insight into how George feels toward Martha.
The portrait above the bar is of Martha's father, who is president of the college where George teaches. By propping the portrait high on the cabinet instead of hanging it on the wall, the set designers thought it would suggest Martha had put the photo there to taunt George—as if he’s literally towering over him in his own home.
The set design is inspired by the artist Gordon Matta-Clark's building cuts. Matta-Clark's work exposes things we aren't supposed to see, in a way that feels scientific but also somewhat brutal. Learn more about Matta-Clark's work by watching set designer Meghan Raham discuss her design and inspiration.