The Medieval Wheel of Fortune: The Pull of the Stars Set

Alyson Cummins, Set Designer, talks us through her inspiration journey designing THE PULL OF THE STARS.

Original sketches for The Pull and the Stars set design by Alyson Cummins

“The story begins at a time when the world is in flux – WW1 is happening and is very present for Julia, whose brother is back from the front and profoundly affected by it. The aftermath of 1916 is still playing out on the streets of Dublin, there is a pandemic which is confounded by the crippling poverty of the Dublin tenements.

I thought how it must have felt like when the world was out of control, a chaotic time where it would be hard to orientate oneself – an image that immediately came to mind was the Medieval Wheel of Fortune, the idea of being at the mercy of fate. This and the sense of being out of control, like a carousel ride married up with the roofscape of the hospital where the beautiful scene between Bridie and Julia takes place. 

We experience the play through Julia’s eyes and her memory of events so I was thinking of the mind’s ability to obfuscate things or throw things in to a sharper focus. I like the idea of how a memory can be triggered by something as simple as the quality of light and how that can transport you straight back to another time and place. We wanted to evoke starlight through refraction of light through all the bottles and jars in the store cupboard which maybe pulls Julia right back into that moment on the roof, seeing and feeling it in another time and place”.

This piece is an extract from the Gate Theatre programme for THE PULL OF THE STARS, to read more you can find our programmes on-sale in the Gate Theatre box office, café and bar. You can see Alyson’s Set Design live in action onstage at the Gate Theatre until 12th May in THE PULL OF THE STARS.  For more information and to purchase tickets follow this link.

The Medieval Wheel of Fortune in THE PULL AND THE STARS