The Rotten Core | Scenic Designer's Point of View


Ashley Byszkowski | Professional Technical Production Intern

From my first read through I loved The Rotten Core's story and humor, and I felt that the world of this play had a very "grunge" atmosphere. Through my initial reads, I kept seeing the scenes shift like a movie.

I was excited when Liz, the director of our professional intern showcase, announced that she wanted to go Steampunk with The Rotten Core, and I took a lot of my initial inspiration off a picture she presented of an abstract New York skyline.

Steampunk New York Inspiration

My first set idea was a gear turntable with steel framework on it that would suggest the different locations when viewed at various angles. I was initially going to have one turntable with all the locations on it so each scene could take place center stage and the turntable would “pan” like a movie camera.

The Rotten Core Set 1 Design

After further discussion, I determined that a turntable would cause too much delay between scenes so I switched to my current design: a series of three levels for the different locations but with no walls so the actors can quickly step into the next scene. And here's the final drafting of The Rotten Core set!

The Rotten Core Ground Plan

Come see the finished set April 28th and 29th!

The Rotten Core is a new play by Jon Bumpus and plays April 28th at 1:30pm and 6:30pm and April 29th at 6:30pm. Come support Nashville Repertory Theatre's professional intern showcase and consider donating to this excellent program for young adults getting their feet wet in the professional theatre business. More information at