The Overcoat

A movement-based performance telling the story of a common clerk’s sudden rise in ambition born of his desire for an overcoat.


 Scenic Designer • Concept Designer

A stage design inspired by constructivist, dadaist, and avant-garde art movements, intervines the bleak, oppressive atmosphere of a cold city and a bureaucratic office with the vibrant, transformative world that the overcoat represents to the protagonist. The design employs stark contrasts, juxtaposing the drab, monochromatic tones of Akaky's daily life against a dynamic and modular set that symbolizes the overcoat's brief but profound impact on his existence.

This scenic landscape is a physical manifestation of the story's core themes: the crushing weight of societal neglect, the fleeting nature of material satisfaction, and the ghostly repercussions of unfulfilled desires. Through innovative use of space, the set transitions seamlessly between the claustrophobic confines of Akaky's office and the boundless realms of his aspirations and eventual downfall. This invites the audience into a visual journey that echoes the clerk's emotional and existential odyssey. With movement and dance integrated into this visually compelling environment, the design offered a unique experience that underscores the narrative's exploration of ambition, loss, and the human condition.


The design leverages stark contrasts—using monochromatic tones to depict Akaky's mundane reality against vivid, unexpected bursts of color and shape that signify the overcoat's transformative power. The set reflects the inner turmoil and aspirations of the protagonist but also creates a visual metaphor for the clash between individual identity and societal expectations.

Early concept ideation

The use of a modular, adaptable set relates to the constructivist emphasis on functional, mutable structures. It allows for fluid transitions between the oppressive office environment and the expansive, dream-like sequences that the overcoat facilitates. This flexibility in the set design supports the narrative's fluidity and the fleeting nature of Akaky's new-found social status.

Research and reference imagery

Constructivism: Originating in Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution, constructivism was about functionality merged with advanced aesthetics, focusing on materials such as glass, steel, and concrete to reflect modernity. The utilitarian aspect of constructivism mirrors the utilitarian nature of the overcoat in Akaky's life: not merely a garment but a tool for societal survival and transformation. The geometric and abstract forms of constructivist art effectively convey the structured, oppressive bureaucracy that Akaky navigates daily.

Dadaism: Emerging during World War I as a form of protest against traditional cultural and aesthetic norms, dadaism embraced chaos, absurdity, and anti-art sentiments. This aligns with the absurdity in Akaky's obsessive quest for the overcoat and the surreal experiences that follow its acquisition. Dadaist elements in the set design underscore the story's critique of materialism and the irrationality of societal values.

Tina Kronis

Adpated by
Richard Alger

Written by
Nikolai Gogol

Scenic Designer
Pablo de Larrañaga Aramoni

Lighting Designer
Emma McManus

Sound Designer
Ying Xin, Tina Kronis, Richard Alger

Costume Designer
Bailey Johnson

Technical Director
Michael Darling

Assistant Scenic Designer
Holly Webb, Alix Newman

Assistant Lighting Designer
Ella Fornorf

Assistant Costume Designer
Starlyn Meyer, Lia Tsur

Elizabeth Rae Price

Associate Production Manager
Winky Kim

Stage Manager
Kellie Hageman

Assistant Stage Manager
Morgan McDonald 

Rudraa Pratap Singh, Nathan Luce, Fred Fu Affambi, Zoe Hertzberg, Rileigh McDonald, Justin Henriksen, Elizabeth Goldmane, Porter Lawrence, Jahliely Salcedo, Sydney Page Rahilly, Shelby Marcee, Ashwath Ram Saravanan, Jared Perez, Brian Nai, Sophia Scavuzzo, Skye Popov