Timothy Bird: "The book and score of Sunday in the Park with George constitutes a formidable design brief. At the core of this is the requirement to have George Seurat's pointillist masterpiece manifest itself live on stage. This is partly provided for by the casting and characters conjured up by Sondheim and Lapine, but in part it must be a scenic device. Sam Buntrock's central idea was that the moment would be made most magical by the incorporation of moving image 'scenic painting' working 'hand in hand' with the live performers.
Meeting David Farley was a joy, explaining his thoughts as set designer, he did exactly what I would have done and suggested that the concept revolve around always being in Seurat's studio and for the painting to escape its frame and thus draw us into his artist's mind.
The video challenge was both to visually engineer projectors to be as unobtrusive as possible and then to create animated content worthy of the master painter. As ever, these things are only ever pulled off well with the collaboration of a great team, from some of the best technical theatre folk to top animators.
Despite all the odds (time and money were, as ever, against us) the team managed to create a piece of work which caught not only the attention of audiences and critics, but of Sondheim and Lapine themselves. Each was kind enough to hint that had the approach been viable when the original musical was born in 1985, it would have been the only way to approach it. At the start, we had no thought of the success the show would enjoy, just how the hell would we make it work??
It was a rewarding process – whether creating the illusion that Seurat’s C20th great-great grandson is appearing with 4 other versions of himself, or in making the park appear for the first time, as if Seurat had made it a chiaroscuro charcoal drawing before our eyes. There were times where we’d all had enough of the tiny dots, but if ever there was a show, which called