Meet the Student Design Team

Meet the Student Design Team
Posted on 05/03/2019
Student DesignerHe’s a young aspiring architect. On a daily basis, you will see him in the halls of Academy, laptop in hand, drafting his latest masterpiece. That’s why when it came to choosing student designers for the Academy’s spring musical “Once On This Island,” junior Bairon Selgado Cruz (West Hartford) was the perfect choice. 

At the start of the school year, the Academy’s resident set designer and artist instructor Karen (Sparks) Mellon approached Bairon with two choices from this year’s Academy season. The choices were “Little Shop of Horrors” or “Once On This Island.” Never shying away from a challenge, Bairon chose the latter and was given a script to analyze. He then went home to do what he does best, draft.

While sitting by his window in his West Hartford home, inspiration came from an unexpected situation.  A big giant tree had just been removed leaving in its place a large giant stump. Looking upon the stump, a thought came to his young creative mind. “What if I were to use a giant stump for the center place of the set.” He went with the idea and went about his design.   

In addition to the set, student designers create the many costumes helping to tell the story. Under the guidance of resident costume designer/artist instructor Gail Fresia, students within her advanced class designed and created the many costumes in the production.  Students were tasked with reading the script and doing research. During the process, students researched island gods and goddesses and looked at various headpieces in Caribbean and African cultures. To find inspiration on color and textures, student designers looked at photos of trash found on the island beaches. They then met with the show’s director Stacie Beard who gave input and direction. 

The student designers along with their characters are listed below.

Jadyn Moore -  the goddess Erzuli,  Mama, and generic storytellers
Kacy-Ann Headley – Daniel,  Daniel’s father Armand,  and Ton Ton
Jessica Eisenhaur – Ti Moune  and a young Ti Moune
Zuly Claudio – Designed the god Agwe
Ahsanti Moxam – Designed Andrea
Tessa Trotta Smith – Designed the goddess Asaka and also works as the production’s stage manager
Hailey Tarnowa – Designed the goddess of death Papa Ge