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Hear from Designer Lisbeth Burian about the process and inspiration behind designing for 'Two Sisters'.


1. What interested you about working on Two Sisters?

Reading the script transported me through time.

I found myself dragged down memory lane. The questions (prompted during the piece) evoked fragmented memories that I hadn't thought of for many years.

Everybody is longing for the feeling of something real and authentic.

I find it funny that the story is placed in this weathered artificial paradise caravan park with plastic chairs and flowers. This clash between the longing for the authentic in an artificial world where everything is an imitation of the real and authentic I find thrilling.

2. What were your sources of inspiration?

I've studied the artwork of British Photographer Martin Parr, who has depicted British people and holiday camps across the UK throughout time. He has an understated kind of humor in his work that I like a lot. On the surface, everything appears ordinary, but upon closer inspection, there's always a hidden element in his pictures - as if they conceal a secret.

I look at the memories as a kind of collage of old postcards and snapshots. I want the 2D feel to become three dimensional. Developing this concept with the director has been enjoyable. We went on a research trip to some Scottish caravan parks together and had a lot of online meetings because Wils the director lives in Scotland and I live in Copenhagen, Denmark.

3. Which part of the production was the most fun to design and why?

I love the part of the production where you stage the set but you are still experiment with opportunities - it is always a challenge to keep the first idea alive and keep on discovering new things within what you already know so that the form doesn't stiffen before the premiere. I like a clear form where you are still able to play around and let new things happen.

4. What sparked your interest to work in theatre and become a designer?

As a kid I was always drawing and building things - sand castles, papier mache landscapes, you name it. Maybe it was some kind of escape from reality- I'm not sure. I really enjoyed it and could disappear into the creations for hours.

5. Where did you learn your trade?

After high school I studied in Paris where I trained in all kinds of art- modeling, drawing, painting, graphic print etc. I found out that I like the collective process and being a part of a team - developing together.

After assisting different set designers I went into the Danish national school of performing arts. After 4 years at the set and costume department I graduated.

6. What's your favorite part of being a designer?

When you design- you design new universes, new opportunities - I always seek out new things - curiosity drags me into the unknown - I really try not go with the obvious. At the same time I try not to tell it all - I prefer to leave small moments for the audience to fill in

7. What has it been like, working on a production that will be on stage in Edinburgh and Malmo?

This show is a co-production between the Lyceum and Malmö Stadsteater. I worked in Malmö before so I'm used to the team there but it is my first time at the Lyceum. It takes a lot of meetings and communication to make co-productions work.

You have to spend time getting to know the new working cultures and learn how they organize the work - the best way is just to ask many questions and speak up and show them your ideas and how you like to do things - sometime it clashes then you compromise.

The two stages are very different so I had to find a design that was possible for both stages without making big changes in the design. In Lyceum we have a more square proscenium and work with the depth of the screen, and in Malmö we work with a wider cinemascope proscenium and a stage that is not very deep.

8. What advice would you give to your 16 year old self?

Dare to make mistakes. Doubt is good - too much doubt is not good. Don’t give a f*** about what other think about you. Take a break - you have time.

9. What would your 16 year old self say to you if they could see you now?

'Cool- you've achieved so much but remember to stay open and tender...

Use your gut feeling when you sense bull-s*** and speak up. Dare to make mistakes. Don’t become too serious - humor is the best weapon. Remember to party.'

You can get your tickets for Two Sisters at The Lyceum here.