The setting for The Price is very specific – the top floor of a soon-to-be-demolished New York brownstone in 1968 – but the themes of the play are universal: What value do we place on what we have, and what price do we pay for the decisions we make?
I wanted the design to give the audience a real sense of that particular time and place, while also helping to make the various characters’ journeys and struggles believable.
I also wanted the way the furniture filled the room to feel authentic, and I included a ceiling in the set to enhance the feeling that we have reached the end of the road – there’s nowhere else to go and it’s time to make some choices.
Every design has many influences – for The Price two were particularly important: Danny Lyon, a photographer who documented the destruction of New York’s old neighborhoods in the late 1960s; and the painter Edward Hopper, whose enigmatic interiors from an earlier era often show isolated characters mid-scene as if glimpsed through a window or seen on a stage.
By Stuart Marshall, Set Designer for The Price