One of the themes of this story, in my opinion, was power. The bet was placed to show the power that one guy had over the other. Placing a bet on losing a finger or winning a nice car seems like a pretty crazy but yet powerful thing to do.
Another theme was fear. Norman had to have some fear with the crazy bet on his hands. He had his pinky on the line so there was most certainly tension – especially since he couldn’t even light the Zippo first try.
There was also envy - Norman wanted Chester’s car. He was willing to risk his finger for the car of his dreams.
After reading through the script a few times and searching the internet for ideas on how I could design this set I came to my conclusions. The first thing that I figured was that this room would need to be a little larger than a normal hotel room. There was I think five or so people standing around talking which immediately led me to the idea of an apartment-size complex. And also, the story calls for a ‘huge penthouse’ so right there one is aware that this is larger than the regular hotel room.
One starts off by entering trough a normal three foot door, nothing fancy – it’s still just a hotel room. The door opens into the room to give the feeling of going in. I can’t think of any homes where the front door actually opens out. Although perhaps it may be better to open it out as it will show how Ted wants to leave and escape the room. Anyway, as one enters the room everything is pretty much visible, with the bar being the furthest thing – which is how it’s supposed to be. I’m not quite sure about the small kitchen but this side of the house needed something to help balance it out and a kitchen and dining table seemed like the most probable thing.
At the end when the finger gets cut off at the bar it is obviously a twisted and sinister thing to do. This called for a unique set design that would set it aesthetically apart from the rest of the room. I chose to place it at an angle in the corner of the room. But this wasn’t just any corner - this was the top-right corner – indicating the most power and tension out of any corner in the room (for Western Cultures that is). This gives the bar a definite contrast between the other elements setting it ‘off’ thus providing the main attention of the set. The script also referred to the room as a ‘backroom’ indicating to me that something would need to be done to give it some kind of a room feel. I chose a depressed base plane as the solution. Walking down a step or two to get to the bar adds to the idea of the bar being isolated from everything else and at the same time breaks up the continuity of the floor creating a ‘room’ type atmosphere - while still allowing people to easily chat with others across the room..
The couch and TV and that whole area is created in concordance to the script. A few characters are sitting there chilling and watching TV so this was a necessity for the set. Then there is a door that would lead to a bedroom and bathroom. I don’t really have any sources, sorry.
List of Requirements:
+ Huge Penthouse
Filed under:Misc, Misc
+ Comfy Chair
+ Telephone in backroom