07:05 PM

New Drama Faculty Member Designs Sets with Resourcefulness

By: Mary Ann Cozza

One of UHD's newest faculty members brings a unique sense of creativity and resourcefulness to his new role in the university's growing drama program.

Frank Vela was working as an adjunct at UHD when his dedication to the program paid off and he was promoted to assistant professor and designer and technical director of theater. To kick off his new role, Vela designed the set for the Landing Theatre Company's current production of "American Buffalo" at UHD's O'Kane Theatre.

Set in a basement junk shop, the play required a set that was believably grimy and packed with odds and ends. Vela raided the drama program's storage facilities and frequented garage sales and flea markets looking for items to achieve his vision. He also attached large sheets of thick Styrofoam panels to the stage walls, painted them gray and scored them to resemble cinder blocks.

"I got a breaker box from the facilities department and found an old safe in a dumpster," Vela said. "It's been fun finding this stuff that makes our set realistic."

You can see Vela's handiwork at the O'Kane Theatre as the production runs through Aug. 28. Tickets are available online at www.landingtheatre.org or at the door before each performance and range from $5 for students and $20 for adults.