VPA’s Ariana White ‘25 nominated for Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Award

The VPA congratulates Theatre Arts and Graphic Design major Ariana White on her nomination for props design for “A Wrinkle In Time”
Headshot of Ariana White '25
Headshot of Ariana White '25

This fall semester, the Department of Visual and Performing Arts performed their fall show A Wrinkle In Time. While we recognized familiar faces of students on-stage, there were many students hard at work off-stage.

From left to right - Ariam Tavarez (Meg), Frankie Sheffield (Charles Wallace), Destiny DiMarco Davila (Happy Medium) and Matt Lannon (Calvin) surrounding the crystal ball prop.
From left to right – Ariam Tavarez (Meg), Frankie Sheffield (Charles Wallace), Destiny DiMarco Davila (Happy Medium) and Matt Lannon (Calvin) surrounding the crystal ball prop.

Recently, one student in particular, Ariana White, ‘25, had her behind-the-scenes talents recognized by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival with a nomination for Props Design.

A recurring presence on the Rogers Center stage, White has been cast in various shows such as Too Much Light Makes A Baby Go Blind, And Then There Were None, and The Wolves. When not cast, White continues her theatre passions by helping out backstage as much as possible. Some of her past credits include The Addams Family and Ugly Lies The Bone, in which she was Props Master.

For A Wrinkle in Time, White created two prop pieces that earned her the nomination in the Allied Crafts Category: a large fortune-telling crystal ball, and a large paper-mache brain. 

The crystal ball was created for the first act, when the main characters Meg, Calvin, and Charles visit the Happy Medium. The prop was made of a rounded lamppost light bulb, had a coating of gossamer on the inside to reflect the projected lights, and was finished with a satin spray on the outside. “My thought process [for the crystal ball] was how to create the changing colors? The initial idea was doing a projection onto a flat surface that would be painted and constructed to look like a three dimensional crystal ball, but the concern was the technical details and using two projectors for the show. Because of that, I built the rest of the crystal ball around a small projector I discovered online, which was able to change colors remotely.”

Merrimack Alum Kass Daley as Red Eyes, standing to the right of the brain prop.
Merrimack Alum Kass Daley as Red Eyes, standing to the right of the brain prop.

Her second design was a 2ft wide brain created out of tissue paper and gossamer to create a paper-mache figure. Hollowed out and stuffed with plastic, this allowed the prop to emulate a pulsating brain  glowing while on stage. It was very important for the brain to look alive for the piece symbolized the It that controlled the people on the planet Camazotz. “[The brain] needed to be large, portable, and semi transparent for a light to shine though [from the pedestal it stood on]. I thought paper-mache was the best option… and adding another material like gossamer would add to the texture of the brain.”

 

The nomination came as a total surprise for White. “I [was] incredibly excited to be nominated! I did not even realize that the [Kennedy Center] respondents would be looking at my props work, so it was quite the surprise to receive the email.”

With next steps for White being the presentation of her props at the Theatre Festival, we at the VPA wish Ariana the best of luck!

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