A Concept Package and Scale Model by Sophie Kramer
Portfolio: http://sophiekramerdesign.com | Ringling College of Art and Design, Rising Junior (’25)
The Earth holds more to enjoy than meets the eye…
Escape the urban world and join the Dryads in the heart of their sacred forest as an honored guest. Celebrate kindness to the Earth with spectacular Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, and enjoy performances of epic proportions, filled with show-stopping acrobatics, dance, and more. Explore the beauty of the natural world as it exists around us and be reminded how vital it is to protect it!
Designed as a part of RCAD’s course Entertainment Design I, The Feast o’ Daphnaie is a dinner theatre experience taking place in the magic, whimsical world of the dryads, inspired by the Greek spirits of the trees; the show will explore the flow of the seasons, the betrayal of the horrid Pollutants—showing the consequences of industrialization, and the power of unity
Initial Visualization and Reference Collection
To help convey the strong visuals I had in my head to my pitch audience, I created both mood boards and hand-drawn sketches to boost visual communication. The hand sketches were very useful in setting the tone for the experience, as well as clarifying described elements to my peers and professors.
For the mood boards, I collected images on a dedicated Pinterest board; for these boards, I focused on finding existing textures, environments, garments, and other materials that matched my vision for the theatre environment and costumes for the Dryads and their chemical counterparts, the Pollutants.
Additionally, I wanted the Feast o’Daphnaie to have primarily plant-based dining. While making sense thematically as food prepared by nature spirits, this experience has the opportunity to make vegetarian and vegan dining options accessible to many guests for the first time. While keeping this mindset, I was deadset on having a menu influenced by Greek food and other Mediterranean cuisines; the images I collected include dishes such as stuffed tomatoes, lemon and bean stew, roasted eggplant, spanakopita, potato moussaka, pita chip nachos, vegan gyros with Impossible meat alternatives, halloumi hand pies, and more.
Establishing a Story
From this point, I began developing a loose concept for the events of the full guest experience, from arrival to departure.
Within my finalized pitch, I decided on having the Dryads’ portion of the show center around abstract performances depicting the changing of the seasons through different styles of dance and acrobatics. This show within the show would be interrupted by the arrival of the Pollutants that depict the effects of industrialization and ignorance towards the human impact on planet Earth, resulting in the fleeing of the Dryads; contrasting against the fluidity of the Dryads, these slithering Pollutant creatures utilize sharper and harsher styles of dance to affect their environment.
However, this is not the end of Mother Earth. One dryad reemerges from their hiding spot on the show floor to realize that nothing will be solved by wallowing in the sadness and that we have the chance to build a better tomorrow. The other dryads begin to come back as the first brave Dryad begins to pull kids from the audience to sing and dance with them, similar to audience participation at existing shows such as the Festival of the Lion King at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Once these story elements were established, I also had to factor in food service, seating, and other moving elements. To ease this process, I established a list of my main story beats and selected those I deemed to be most crucial to the experience.
Feast o’Daphnaie Story Beats
- Arrival at exterior/check-in
- Entrance into the interior “grand entrance hall”
- Meeting some of the dryads
- Brought to seats
- Food delivered by waitress dryads
- Start of show
- Welcome speech from the master of ceremonies
- Dryad entrance
- Summer (acro section)
- Fall (contemporary dance)
- Winter (ballet)
- Start of spring trapeze section (abrupt stop)
- Entrance of the pollutants/fleeing of dryads
- Aerial silks section
- Hip hop/modern dance section
- Chant circle with lights
- Spot on one dryad re-entering
- Speaking to floor-level guests
- Dance with guests to drive pollutants out
- Finish spring trapeze set/finale
- Show finish/guests leave.
With the selected moments from the story beats, I developed storyboards to aid in visualizing what each step of the experience could look like, from the lobby to the theatre itself.
Physical Scale Model
Once the visual look of the theatre was fully developed in sketch form, I recreated a version of it in a real-built space. I decided to construct a model of the show floor, which is truly the home of the main action of the Feast o’Daphanie experience. After I established real dimensions for the space, I converted my measurements into a 1′-0″ = 0′-1/4″ scale. The model, all hand fabricated other than the 3D printed figurines populating the model, includes a multitude of materials and fabrication techniques, including some lighting.
Additionally, I was tasked with developing a prop for the experience that would be utilized as part of an interaction with a door. For my door of choice, I selected the door that acts as the portal between the human and dryads. I modeled a digital sculpt of my door handle in Z-Brush and created a design intent document sheet with elevations and dimensions in Adobe Illustrator.
This door pull resides in the lobby area of the show arena before you fully enter the world of the Dryads. Acting as a portal between the environments of the urban jungle and the enchanted forest floor, the door pull offers a mix of the two worlds. By giving an object so commonly associated with mundane humanity a magical element, guests are slowly drawn into the Dryads’ mythos before they’re even inside of it. The oxidized copper also allows for a hint of green to peak into the color scheme before being surrounded by rich shades of the natural world.
I truly enjoyed working on this concept for my entire sophomore fall semester. It was incredibly rewarding to watch it grow from an idea in my head to a physical deliverable. Despite a Floridian hurricane and various obstacles on campus, I was able to complete this project and I will forever be proud of myself for accomplishing that. Thanks for taking the journey through the Feast o’Daphanie with me. Come visit again soon, and remember that there’s always more to the Earth than one thinks!