Into the Woods was the most complex scenic design project Olin had ever undertaken. Working with the director, I knew we needed a multi-level set with a few mobile stumps, ramps, steps, a rideable tree with a removable branch, a climbable tower and a working trapdoor. I got the dimensions of the theater and did the initial sketch above.
Rather than use traditional drafting techniques, I obtained a 3D model of the theater and used Solidworks to place each platform, ramp, and staircase so we could quickly and easily see the full three dimensional structure of the set and easily get a BOM to build it.
To construct the set, I read several books on scenic design and converted some space on campus into a dedicated scenic design wood shop. We borrowed some platforms from a neighboring theater company and built the rest ourselves. The tree and stumps were made from a platform core with plywood profiles and a chicken wire and painted plastercloth exterior. The tower was a plywood-clad stabilized double-heighted platform with knotted climbing-grade rope sheathed in a frayed yellow nylon cord to simulate Rapunzel's hair. The trapdoor was a simple construction using hinges and gate latches to hold and catch the trap.