Best Set Designer
Crowded Fire Theatre Company resident set designer Melpomene Katakalos has to be one of the least literal-minded theatrical set designers in town. She can do naturalistic, no problem, but she has a particular talent for constructing evocative stage pictures out of a few discrete elements. Just sample a few of her recent efforts on this side of the bay: Her set for Crowded Fire's trailer-park golem fairy tale Anna Bella Eema last year consisted of three vine-covered chairs perched atop a stage that looked like a large wooden crate. Center REP's Hank Williams musical Lost Highway was placed in a hodgepodge wasteland of wooden amphitheater steps, a lone gasoline pump, a ridge strung with barbed wire, and a high rusted-out wall that looked like forgotten factory ruins. The realistic motel room of the Cal theater department's Suburban Motel was nestled in a thick forest of bright roadside signs for diners and car dealership. Her fantastical setting for Cal Shakes' just-closed Pericles, set about with Persian rugs and a twisted tree-trunk arch, was one of the high points of the production.