Dramatic, End-of-Play Set Change

Theresa Rebeck's "Seminar," on Broadway

Trendsetting alert!

Seminar is the latest straight play to employ a scenic device popular around town these days: The Dramatic, End-of-Play Set Change. A DEOPSC (as it is popularly known) occurs at a climactic storytelling moment when a formerly unchanging set disappears or unexpectedly moves, thus expensively symbolizing Momentous Change and Revelation.

In Seminar, the DEOPSC occurrs when Lily Rabe’s rent-controlled palace evaporates into the flies to expose Alan Rickman’s beautifully book-stuffed, downtown pad. True to form, “ahhhhh!!!” goes the scenery-starved audience.

Other DEOPSC’s from recent memory have appeared in:

The Mountaintop (disappearing hotel rooms!)
In the Wake (receding apartments!)
Close Up Space (evaporating offices!)

Any others you can think of?



  1. The Original “Plenty” at the Public where the back wall opened up and exposed the lush beautiful greenery of the woman’s memory of her youth

  2. Circle Mirror Transformation!

  3. 1. The end of “In the Next Room…or, the vibrator play.” Naturalistic two-room set comes apart, reveals snowy outdoors for tasteful nude, er, climax.

    2. The end of the Cromer “Our Town,” which went from abstract, no-set, no-costumes staging to a meticulously recreated period kitchen, complete with bacon smell.

    Great post.

... Any thoughts?... C'mon!

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