Adding Machine: The Musical

Technical Director

This production of Adding Machine: the Musical called for a dark and unforgiving design. Rusted Steel I-beams hung from the ceiling in close proximity to the actors on stage, and sculptures of numbers surround the action on stage, highlighting the fact that our anti-hero Zero is being crushed under the weight of 25 years of menial work. Elements of 1920's silent films are set against the cold, wet stone walls at the bottom of a well. When Zero is able to face his fate in the Elysian Fields, the scenic transition needed to be both explosive, yet remain hidden in plain sight for the most of the production.


The build

Dan Gray's scenic design evoked the rough texture of cement, with slick, high gloss paint treatments added to the show deck and back walls. Acetone sprinkled onto foam-faced walls would melt away the foam, leaving a pocked and marred texture reminiscent of shrapnel-blasted concrete. The hanging units would be constructed from ply wood, but would receive a rough coating of Jaxsan to give the appearance of jagged rust on the hanging I-Beams and would continue through the entire set. 

loading in

The set needed to be loaded into a smaller black box space a few streets away from our scene shop which required a more modular approach to building, and in turn, loading in. Two curtain tracks overlapping each other would support the walls, hiding the seam between them within the circular grooves of the back wall. Pipes and I-Beams are placed so forced perspective will reveal the numbers to the audience.

hell, heaven, Hell, repeat.

The backdrop was painted and stretched in our scene shop and hidden behind the walls for the grand reveal of the Elysian Fields. 

The Machine Gear ends the play in a dramatic fashion, grinding up soiled souls before distributing them back to Earth. The wheel would be constructed from 4" foam, and Jaxsan would be applied to give the wheel's teeth a bloody, rusted look. A fog machine and sound effects finished up the look to this terrifying machine. 



Otterbein University, Fall 2017

  • Directed by Lenny Leibowitz
  • Scenic Design by Dan Gray
  • Lighting Design by TJ Gerckens
  • Costume Design by Julia Fererri
  • Technical Direction by Nick Hahn