LOS ANGELES -- "The whole set was a metaphor for the body."
That's the way the Life & Style section of the Los Angeles Times headlined its recent profile of local theatre designer Marsha Ginsberg.
Trained as an artist, with extensive experience in avante-garde theatre, Ginsberg designed the set for San Diego Repertory Theatre's just-closed production of Moliere's The Imaginary Invalid. Her interest in plastic materials and their interaction with light was the basis for the set, which combined a fiberglass room with three workable sinks (with damask baroque wallpaper for historical reference).
A New Yorker, the 35-year- old Ginsberg came to Los Angeles four years ago on a National Endowment for the Arts grant to work with designer Robert Israel.
"After the grant ran out, he asked me to stay, so I did," Ginsberg said. Her many projects with Israel include Florencia en el Amazonas for the L.A. Opera Co. Ginsberg states in the article that she doesn't really label herself as a theatre person, particularly in Los Angeles. "I'm still quasi-involved in the art world and also in architecture."
The designer also said that L.A. has influenced her work in unexpected ways. "It's not so much the culture as the natural light, and the kind of mundane materials like mini-malls and landscaping that inspires me."
She likes alternating set design with large-scale installations. Last summer she completed Phase 1 on "The Register," a collaborative installation with sound and light in rooms of an abandoned Victorian hotel in upstate New York. "The rooms are frozen in time," she said, "including a 'Burnt Room' where there had been a fire."
-- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent