Carefully Designing a Set – By Justin and Christopher Swader
"Adventurous theater in Astoria"

-- The New York Times

Carefully Designing a Set – By Justin and Christopher Swader

After living in Astoria for three years, the two of us are really excited to finally be working with APAC on this production of CAREFULLY TAUGHT. We have enjoyed unlocking the visual world with the creative team of this new play.3_MG_0051-4

Working together as a team, there is definitely an instinctual sense of collaboration between us that fuels each project. Since we both live and work together, the conversation about a design is ongoing. It is often difficult to articulate exactly how an idea comes about – sometimes it’s as if we are reading each other’s mind: one of us will say one thing, the other may add something to it, and so on.

empty-classroom1H.C.-Wilcox-Technical-School-Interior-Classroom-DesignUsually by the time opening night arrives, it is difficult to distinguish who came up with what. Even a disagreement about a particular idea can sometimes spark a new one and lead us down a completely different path. It is just the magic that happens when any kind of creative minds unite. We believe all artists working in the theatre aim to achieve perfect collaboration with one another, and the two of us like to think our teamwork is no different. We just happen to be twin brothers.




It has been a fun challenge working to transform the unconventional gymnasium space at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church. CAREFULLY TAUGHT contains a number of different locations that move at a cinematic pace as we transition through them. We wanted to create an open space that could allow for all of these scenes to exist. We were inspired by neutral, empty spaces – rooms that felt academic or corporate, but with the pop of a floor lamp could suddenly feel homey and intimate.


Two tables and four chairs can take us everywhere we need to go with the support of lighting, sound and minimal props to shape the rest of the world. We appreciate Astoria Performing Arts Center for sharing Cheryl Davis’s exciting play and continuing to champion new works and artists.


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