January 31, 2023

Ahead of Opera Santa Barbara’s California premiere of An American Dream, the production’s Stage Director, Richard Gammon, and Set and Projection Designer, Yuki Izumihara, give a sneak peak at the design of the show. 

Headshots of An American Dream's Richard Gammon and Yuki Izumihara

An American Dream by Jack Perla and Jessica Murphy Moo presents the question of ownership and identity. The story revolves around a house and two American families amidst the atrocities of WWII. Due to its genesis in actual events in US history, we approached the production’s design with an eye towards realism through a contemporary lens. 

Wishing to honor the honesty of the narrative we utilized a minimalistic aesthetic that would dually focus on and open up the dialogue of American values. We present the home simply, with a nod to American Northwest terrain and landscape, focusing on its inherent qualities of safety and cozy comfort. With this in mind we also ensured opportunities within the design to expand and contract when more conceptual ideas or “magical realism” was called for in the score. 

Set design mockup for An American Dream by Yuki Izumihara
Set design mockup for An American Dream by Yuki Izumihara

About An American Dream’s Stage Director

Richard Gammon (he/him) is a Filipino American stage director. He has directed productions at companies such as Wolf Trap Opera, Detroit Opera, Virginia Opera, Opera Lafayette, and is the Director of the Opera Maine Studio Artist Program.  With a great interest in contemporary opera he has directed pieces such as As One, Sumeida’s Song, Silent Night, Three Decembers, Scalia/Ginsburg, Buoso’s Ghost, Looking At You, and several works by Jorge Sosa.

About An American Dream’s Set and Projection Designer

Yuki Izumihara (she/her) is a scenic, projection, and production designer born in Shimonoseki City, Japan and based in Los Angeles. Ms. Izumihara’s work is influenced by years of martial arts training and is animated by a belief in discipline, ethics and craftsmanship. She has previously designed Tosca and Semele for Opera Santa Barbara and her work has been featured at LA Opera, New World Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Boston Lyric Opera, The Adrienne Arsht Center, San Diego Opera, Miami New Drama and various theaters in Los Angeles.