Due to the outbreak of covid-19 all performances were suspended. ENRON was reimagined as a virtual production.
In 2001, energy trading company Enron became the subject of a massive fraud and corruption scandal, with its chief operating officer, Jeffrey Skilling, at the centre of the $63 billion collapse.
Lucy Prebble’s 2009 play is a modern tragedy about the quest for power of big companies around the world, and the Macbeth-like betrayals as powerful men at the top of the food chain drag each other down during their kingdom's demise.
Enron is a perfect example of how to turn a story about business into a theatrical spectacle to match the company's spectacular collapse.
Jeffery Skilling - Tom Zachar
Andy Fastow - Yingxue Zhang
Ken Lay - Ian Sawan
Claudia Roe - Rebecca Gunn
Skilling's Daughter / Trader / Hewitt / Lehman Brother / Prostitute / Reporter - McCallister Selva
Arthur Andersen / Irene Grant / Trader / Raptor / Analyst - Charlie O'Connor
Ramsay / Analyst / Trader / Raptor / Police Officer - Jack McCreadie
Lawyer / Sheryl Solomon / Congresswoman - Lesley Lemon
Board Member / Trader / Security Officer / Lehman Brother / Lawyer - Sam Stopford
Board Member / Trader / Raptor / JP Morgan / Senator - Shyvonne Ahmmad
In the production of Enron we had to virtually create the designs for this due to COVID 19. The Fixtures List is as folows:
4x Lanta orion Link V2 LED Bars (Hire)
9x S4 JR 25-50
4x S4 Parnels
8x LED Par Cans (Hire)
4x Robe dl4F Moving Lights
3x DTS Par 64 MFL Par Cans
4x 4 Cell Strand Coda Lights
2x Foliage Breakup Gobos
1x Prison Bars Gobo
1x Chauvet Amhaze Hazer
3 Blind Mice - Why?
Ken Lay's Office
Mark to Market Party
Enron Trading Floor
Party Like its 1999
Claudia Roe Sequence
Andy Fastow's Lair
The Prison Cell
The system design for this show presented a few challenges, the most difficult one being the seating configuration. It was difficult to find a way to provide consistent sound for all 3 seating areas. I decided to use the 6 KV2 ESD12 speakers in the chandler stock in 3 pairs to provide L/R coverage for all 3 areas. The system design also incorporated spot speakers (D&B E0) and subs (KV2 EX1.5) behind each seating area, I planned to use them during scenes such as the ones in Fastow’s office to create an uncomfortable atmosphere and tension. The final speaker was to be hung above the centre cluster of TVs, this was to provide a consistent sound from the TVs as well as for spot effects.
Design - Chandler
I had planned to include 3 microphones in the design of the show. The first was to be a DPA 4060 with a UHFR wireless pack that would be used in the 3rd act to amplify and effect the sound of the gavel in the courtroom scene. I’m not sure how this would be placed as the scene was never blocked. As this would only be used in act 3 it could be placed during the interval if the desk was being used for something else during act 1 The second and third microphones would be Shure Beta 91-a placed on the left and right side of the sliding doors on the upstage side. These would be used to amplify footsteps of people entering during Ken Lay’s funeral scene. The reason for this choice would be to make the room feel emptier than acts 1 & 2 as by act 3 the Enron company had collapsed.
Design - Online Presentation
I found it really difficult to use the ideas talked about above in the online presentation as the effects mentioned relied on the direction the sound was coming from which was more difficult to control during an online presentation. I wouldn’t be able to create spot effects as I only really had control over left and right directionality, but even then it really depended on the device that the presentation the device was being viewed on as mobile devices like phones and tablets only have a mono output. Because of this I took the design of the show in a slightly different direction and relied more on atmospheric sounds and music for the online presentation. I created the majority of sounds for the show on Ableton Live, using a Novation Lauchkey 49 to control it. I used sound like phone rings, printers and background chat to create an office atmosphere to give the impression that the actors were sitting in the same office rather than in different houses on zoom. I used a similar effect for the first party scene and the new year’s party scene using chatting sounds and music. As some of the scenes were re-designed to look like video calls and phone calls I made sure to keep the phone ringing sounds era-appropriate to the late 90s/early 2000s when the show is set. A large part of the design that I kept from my original design for the Chandler was to use collection of sounds created from the sounds of the Enron adverts.
Technical Stage Department
Enron's technical challenges consisted of the TV centre cluster, the light box, and the sliding walls.
TV Centre Cluster
The TV centre cluster was to be made from steel. It would have consisted of three trapezoid frames at a 30 degree angle with three L braces per frame. The centre L brace would have the TV's own wall mount bolted into it, attaching the TV to the clustre. Four pick up points of flying irons would be placed on the remaining L brackets and hang off 1500MM drifts from cross bars above. A drop bar with a projector would hang in the middle of the cluster.
The light box would have been primarily made from timber in four sections bolted together. Strategically placed flying irons on the inside of the box would have suspended the box from cross bars overhead. As it was made from timber, the box would have been fairly heavy (approx. 165KG). Having been bolted together on the ground, the box would been hauled out using four pulleys. This one to one system would only be used provided those doing the lift had previously told the stage supervisor they were confident in the lift. Split between four points, the weight being hauled by each person would have been approximately 60KG. If this were not advisable, a 2:1 pulley system would be used to haul the box out. With 2000MM drifts and shackles already in place, the box would have been lifted and then immediately secured to rigging by four more individuals. The scaff bar structural integrity is sufficient enough to take the point load of the four points the box would hang from. This has been confirmed using the recommended SWL for specified steel and alumnium bars of 48.3mm outside diameter with specified spans and an assumed rope spacing of 2M. This table can be found on the Scaffolding Pipe page.
Four sets of sliding walls US were part of the design. Two runs of track housing two doors each would have been suspended from drop T bars and hook clamps. Using header, return and floor pulleys, the line would have been threaded through the scenery carriers and tied off so that the doors would close towards each other and open away from one another. Bespoke vertical blinds from Vertical Blinds Direct would have been ordered and come with it's own mechanism for opening and closing.
The seating bank was in the round with a rise of 200MM and a capacity of 96. The front row of the audience would encroach on the playing space and considerations would have to be made for scenery movement and cast interaction.
A sacrificial floor would be used for scenery effect. In order to aid the travel of the sliding wall, the stage department requested that a groove be cut in this floor to guide the walls on their track movement SR/ SL.
Using the camera render tool in Vectorworks, we can get an approximate idea of sightlines and what audiences will be looking at from specific places in the venue.
With the move to an online production, one may say that that Enron was split in two; an adapted online version and a hypothetical version. The stage management team worked on both versions, ensuring the smooth running of the online version and carrying out hypothetical stage management tasks.
Our work with props was all hypothetical and carried out online. We worked methodically from a props spreadsheet, figuring out where we would have bought and borrowed props and how we would have made certain props. We recorded our work in method statements, budgets and borrow lists. Below you will find a selection of this work.
Taser and taser holder
We devised a method of making the taser should it turn out we were unable to source or borrow a fake or decommissioned taser.
Cigar option1: https://www.ehow.com/how_7611089_make-fake-cigars.html
Measure toilet roll tube- May need to be kitchen roll tube cut to 6 inches- either way ensure that it’s roughly 6 inches to match the working cigar RCS owns.
Cigar option2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUGZewFKoSY
Ensure when rolling/trimming that an overall length of 6 inches is created to match the working cigar that RCS owns.
Paper box: http://thepapercraftpost.blogspot.com/2012/09/midi-cigar-box-haberdashery-stash.html
Adjust measurements to fit 6 inch cigars. – would need decoration or painted
Purchasable box: https://www.cgarsltd.co.uk/empty-red-regius-cigar-boxes-lucky-dip-p-26071.html
Perfect fit four 6 inch cigars.
I found a generic template for how to fold a cigarette box and altered it to replicate a Marlboro cigarette box.
Year 2000 glasses
Prop borrow list
To supplement and visualize the hypothetical props master setting list, hypothetical props layouts were created by Rory Gilmore.
Props master setting list
Props layout: Desks
Props layout: USR props table