REVIEWS OF RECENT PRODUCTIONS


Rules of Charity by John Belluso Directed by Chris Smith (Magic Theatre, San Francisco)

San Francisco Chronicle, May 3, 2005 by Robert Hurwitt

“The first offering in the Magic Theatre's second annual Hot House series ... "Charity" is smart, provocative, subversively funny and genuinely touching. ... The father-daugher dynamic between Arwen Anderson's crisp, deeply unhappy Loretta and Warren David Keith's painfully reserved, archly intellectual Monty is as sterile and vividly drawn as Kris Stone's remarkable set of metallic surfaces and randomly strewn TV sets."

Julius Caesar Directed by Eleanor Holdridge (Milwaukee Shakespeare, Milwaukee)

OnMilwaukee.com, March 2, 2005 by Laura Williams

“The action in this muscular production, directed by Eleanor Holdridge, takes place in front of a steel and glass backdrop reminiscent of an office building from the 'greed is good' era. ...The brilliant work of set designer Kris Stone and costume designer Karin Kopischke, though stark and minimal, offers a set of clues to help a modern audience decipher the class structure.”

Shepherd-Express.com, March 6, 2005 by Thatcer I. Trice

“What leaps out first, and boldest, is director Eleanor Holdridge's vision, shared by Kris Stone, .... Stone constructed a sleek industrial set with converging curving lines and simple geometrics, glass and steel, and cut-stone tiling. Ultra-modern furniture, bright banners, and oversized crests aside, the props and trappings are few and far between.”

The Underpants by Steve Martin, Directed by Aaron Posner (The Arden Theatre, Philadelphia)

Philadelphia Weekly, September 22-28, 2004 by J. Cooper Robb

“In her ingenious scenic design, Kris Stone creates what are almost two adjoining sets on the small stage. The living room and bedrooms are flat and dull. But by employing forced perspective, Stone gives the kitchen (Louise's habitat) a remarkable depth. The effect is that Louise appears to spend the play trying to dig her way out of a deep hole.”

Talking Broadway.com, September 15, 2004 by Tim Dunleavy

“The new production of The Underpants at the Arden Theatre makes the most of Sternheim's satiric situation and Martin's witty dialogue. Even the set design is funny. Scenic designer Kris Stone has taken forced perspective to an absurd level, making everything in the Maskes' apartment seem out of kilter.”

Courier-Post Staff, September 17, 2004 by Kevin Riordan

“Featuring a handsome set, gorgeous costumes and snap-happy dialogue that's delirious with double- and triple-entendres, The Underpants offers a revealing glimpse of what promises to be a strong season at the Arden.”

Eye on the Arts, September, 2004 by Paula Shulak

“The set against which this hilarious farce is played is cleverly designed by Kris Stone so that it is at an angle and looks to be receding into the background."

Main Line Times, September 29, 2004 by Mark Cofta

“The clean lines of Kris Stone's scenic design feel modern, but the sharp angles of the green and white flat's forced perspective cleverly emphasize the play's farcical slant.”

Reading Eagle, September 16, 2004 by Clark Groome

“The show zips by thanks to the fine physical production designed by Kris Stone ....”

Press Focus, September 22, 2004 by Frank Rapp

“The set was brilliantly designed by Kris Stone.”

Comedy of Errors Directed by Cecil MacKinnon (Shakespeare & Company’ Founders’ Theater)

New York Times, August 25, 2004 by Edward Rothstein

“Each Comedy of Errors has its own Ephesus.  And here in Lenox, at the Founders’ Theater, which sits on 63 acres belonging to Shakespeare and Company, Shakespeare’s legendary locale has become a tropical paradise, an amusement park and a place for resurrected comic routines. Cape Verdian music slinks and bustles; periscopes and blue accordion-snakes emerge from the floor; a rotating yellow tea cup carries mismatched lovers to their assignations.”

CurtainUp, Berkshire Review, August 13, 2004 by Elyse Sommer

“Shakespeare & Company’s just opened Comedy is without a doubt the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. Not to take anything away from the high energy cast, the true stars of Cecil MacKinnon’s production are Kris Stone’s double-tiered set, Arthur Oliver’s eye-popping costumes, Lap-Chi Chu’s exquisite lighting … . Stone’s sherbert-colored palette is offset by a black and white checkered floor that invites playful hopscotch and pratfalls.  With eight doors on the upper level, plus a marvelously inventive revolving door down below – not to mention the requisite hidden holes for surprise pop-up appearances and disappearances – MacKinnon has out-farceured the genre that is defined by having at least four doors to highlight its comic misunderstandings.”

The Boson Phoenix, August 27, 2004 by Carolyn Clay

“… racing fun-house world that takes seriously Ephesus’s reputation for sorcery and then throws in whimsy. Without explanation, folks travel in a spinning teacup straight out of Disney World; periscopes and Slinkies pop up out of the black-and-white diamond-patterned stage floor (echoed in the black-and-whiteness of the Antipholi and Dromios). And there are little opening and shutting windows through which faces briefly appear, like those of the wisecracking denizens of Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In – though the humor is closer to that of the Three Stooges, combined here with a sort of dance fever in which everything pulses to a catchy beat and sort of undulates from pratfall to pratfall.  It’s fast and fun …”

The Boston Globe, August 18, 2004 by Ed Siegel

“MacKinnon and company have a ball with the mix-ups while inserting a kind of magical surrealism into the proceedings, with periscopes rising out of the floor and a beautiful score (inspired by the Cape Verdean composer Bau) adding an exotic calypso feel.”

The Berkshire Eagle, August 15, 2004 by Jeffrey Borak

“In her playful, colorful production (thanks in no small measure to set designer Kris Stone …), director Cecil MacKinnon has taken Antipholus of Syracuse literally and created on the Founders’ Theater’s black-and-white checkerboard-square stage an environment in which anything can happen – and usually does.  As Epheseans go about their business, strange creatures pop up from holes in the floor and then, just as suddenly, disappear.  A series of revolving doors upstage captures the round-and-round-and-round-we-go effect of a series of mistakes created by biology and an accident at sea years earlier that resulted in the separation in infancy of two sets of twins.”

August, 2004 by Gail M. Burns

“Stone’s scenery consists of a Seuss-like series of brightly colored doors on the upper level of the Founders’ Theater playing space, accessed by matching spiral staircases, and a nifty revolving door below during the second half of the show.  It is fun watching surreal changes of characters spin through the four segments of the revolving door, one of which is mirrored, on of which matches the harlequin black and white checks on the floor, one of which is apparently a part of Antipholus of Ephesus’s home, and the last that is a brilliantly blue cloud-filled sky.”

WAMC Radio, August 16, 2004, Genie Zust

“Kris Stone’s set is a comic jewel and includes a huge, Disneyesque tea cup and a revolving door that is zany, wild and very clever.  The four angles of the revolving door are 1. a lady’s chamber, 2. the black and white checkerboard pattern of the set floor, 3. blue sky and clouds, and 4. mirrors.  The actors play off each one with glee.”

The Advocate In Berkshires, August 19, 2004, Ralph Hammann

“With nary an embarrassment among them, all [actors] are adept farceurs who convey a sense of fun as they romp through Cecil MacKinnon’s intricate staging on Kris Stone’s set, which resembles a carnival replete with a funhouse and whirling teacup ride.”

Daily Hampshire Gazette, August 19, 2004, Larry Parnass 

“It has got to be the funniest, fastest and most sensual version yet, one quickened by stagecraft that delights every sense.  The eye and ear make out particularly well.  … When a Styrofoam boulder falls onto the stage, the room sakes.  The stage surface is laid with a pattern of black  and white diamonds that lends a harlequin look.  The doors and facades of buildings at the rear tilt and warp, as if seen in a funhouse mirror.  Little portals in those doors swing open for quick comments from characters. … Ephesus was mentioned in the Bible as being a place of conjurers, witches and bizarre happenings.  Trap doors in Kris Stone’s set help deliver that feeling: One opens to a rising periscope with a starring eye affixed. Another is the lair of a giant snake.”

Compass, August 19, 2004, Macy Levin

“Cecil MacKinnon has turned the city into a funhouse with doors that open a la “Laugh-In,” amiable monsters that pop up from below the stage floor, and other comic props. Kris Stone’s set with its bright colors, lights and harlequin floor design enhances the idiosyncratic air of the show.”

North Adams Transcript, August 26, 2004, Karen Gardner

“The show was a wildly silly romp through the magical land of Ephesus, a colorful carnival of a city complete with secret doors, spinning rooms, mirrors, magic and more.  But even zanier than the set were the characters, who were portrayed with abandon to the delight of all.  Shakespeare was never so accessible and funny.  While his energized characters took a spin in a twirling teacup reminiscent of one belonging to the Mad Hatter, young and old were transported by laughter through the funhouse world of Director Cecil MacKinnon, as created by Kris Stone, scenic designer.” 

The Pittsfield Gazette, August 19, 2004, Jonathan Levine

“The town of Ephesus looks like something out of a Dr. Seuss book, with colorful warped imagery.  Kris Stone provides one of Shakespeare & Company’s most elaborate sets, highlighted by the clever use of a revolving door. … Characters are transported in a giant amusement park-style teacup, a nifty image.”



As You Like It  Directed by Eleanor Holdridge (Shakespeare & Company’s Founders’ Theater)

North Adams Transcript, July 1, 2004 by Donna Roberts 

“Shakespeare & Company’s opening play for the season, ‘As You Like It,’ brings love and hope alive with a complex story set on a simple stage. … And while the stage design is kept simple – fluttering white pieces of paper hung along the sides for winter, green stalks scattered about for a field in spring – the context of a magical world remains as big a part of the play as the characters.”

Times Union, July 2, 2004 by Michael Eck

“Director Eleanor Holdridge has created a sleek, beautiful-looking ‘As You Like It’ that might be a little higher on concept than it is on clarity.  It’s a satisfying production, nonetheless …. Holdridge combines tricks from ‘Alice In Wonderland’ and ‘The Wizard of Oz’ in her storytelling, and that works well enough that she might have borrowed more.  The play opens, quite literally, in black and white, with the players moving around the checkerboard stage like ersatz chess pieces.  Later, Orlando slides down a hole in Duke Senior’s duotone court only to come out in the Technicolor forest of Arden – where white-suited main characters mingle with day-glo locals in a surreal greeting card landscape.  The set, by Kris Stone, and costumes, by Jacqueline Firkins, become sort of overarching characters in the play, but ultimately they steal some of the attention from the real goings on in the script.”

WFCR Radio, July 1, 2004 by Chris Rohmann 

“Eleanor Holdridge’s production treats the split between the dark, treacherous court and the sunlit freedom of the forest in black and white – literally.  Kris Stone’s set and Jacqueline Firkins’ baroque-period costumes are marvels of visual imagination.  The state is a monochrome checkerboard, and the people at court wear black robes which change into white when they enter the magical forest, where the local shepherds frolic in Crayola colors.”

The Record, July 1, 2004 by Bob Goepfert

“’As You Like It’ is an intelligent, thoughtful, well-performed production that is visually stunning. … Visually, it is a beautiful production, and indeed, the way they [the actors] inhabit a bare stage and make it become anything the mind can imagine borders on the mystical.  Eleanor Holdridge and set designer Kris Stone work together to use simple, often non-realistic props to suggest a make-believe environment that serves the purpose of the play.”

WAMC Review, June 27, 2004 by Genie Zust

“The set, by Kris Stone, is a charming black and white chess board with hugely absurd appearing flowers, disappearing fluffy rugs and the unbelievably green apples from Bartlett’s Orchard.  The stage, with these artfully simple touches, became an Eden – as the world often seems to those young and in love.”



Lolita Directed by Annie Ryan (The Abbey Theater, Dublin)

Sunday Times (London), September 8, 2002 by Karina Buckley

“Kris Stone’s superb set design enhances an engaging theatrical experience.”

Sunday Business Post, September 8, 2002 by Jennifer O’Connell

“Kris Stone’s set is utterly ingenious – it is as Spartan as a Tokyo bedsit, but it still manages to conjure up, by turns, the Hazes’ flower filled backyard, the long, empty highways and the Schillers’ grubby, cramped accommodation.”

Sunday Independent, September 8, 2002 by Emer O’Kelly

“Kris Stone has designed a starkly simple set, lit with equally simple clarity by Paul Keogan …”

Sunday Times (London) September 8, 2002, by Karina Buckley

“Nonetheless, Kris Stone's superb set design enhances an engaging theatrical experience.”

The Irish Times, September 3, 2003 by Fintan O’Toole

“One of the fascinations of Annie Ryan’s fine production is how well the play sits here.  The Irish inflections and attitudes of Simone Kirby, David Pearse and Liam Carney seem completely at home.  Although Mud is set nowhere in particular, Kris Stone’s accomplished design suggests a universal landscape, Ryan and her cast have no great trouble giving it a local habitation.



Mud Directed by Annie Ryan (The Project Theater, Dublin)

Irish Independent, September 5, 2003 by Susan Conley

“Directed by Annie Ryan, the series of short scenes are linked beautifully by frozen moments of awareness that elegantly end what we’ve just experienced and fluidly bring us across into the next scene.  Kris Stone’s simple but powerful set and Jane Cox’s superb lighting design create the perfect setting for three extraordinary performances as Kriby, Pearse and Carney use both physical and vocal dexterity to create fully realized characterisations. The writing has a brash and moving beauty that is quite uncommon.  It’s powerful work well done.”

The Guardian, September 3, 2003 by Helen Meany

“It could almost be called "Bog", so successfully has Maria Irene Fornes's play been transposed to an Irish setting by the Corn Exchange Theatre Company.  With its sprawling domestic interior against a ridge of mud and a huge sky, Kris Stone’s set design opens up the claustrophobic dramatic world, and reflects the tension in Fornes’s writing between the abstract and the concrete.  While this initially comes across as confusion, it reveals itself to be teasingly ambiguous.”



Suburb the Musical Directed by Jennifer Uphoff-Gray (York Theater)

New York Times, by Anita Gates

“On the surface, the York Theater Company’s engaging and very promising new musical is about one Manhattan couple’s housing decision.  On all the important levels, it’s about the courage to make a change.”

Theater Mania, March 2, 2001 by Barbara and Scott Siegel

“Directed by Jennifer Uphoff-Gray with simple stylishness, the show moves right along at a nifty pace.  John Carrafa’s choreography serves the songs well, and he provides Suburb with just the right amount of kinetic energy. Kris Stone’s set design – particularly for the mall scene – is economical and cute, while Jan Finnell’s costumes seem to come (amusingly) right out of that mall.”

Talkin’ Broadway.com, March 1, 2001 by Marjorie Shapiro

“Scenic designer Kris Stone did a terrific job of creating moveable sets in a show that goes from city to country, office to garden, country house to city house.”



Two Sisters and a Piano Directed by Karen Carpenter (The Old Globe Theater)

North County Times, March 17, 2004 by Pam Kragen

“The play has the feel of a novel, thanks in part to Kris Stone’s flattened set, which depicts an aged colonial home with the weathered door and blue-shuttered window set into the floor rather than the walls.”

The San Diego Union Tribune, March 13, 2004 by Anne Marie Welsh

“Designer Kris Stone places a sliver of blue sky all around the audience chamber of the Carter, and it is to this symbol of hope and freedom the Maria Celia addresses many of her monologues.”



Collected Stories Directed by Christopher Grabowski (Portland Stage, Maine)

Maine Sunday Telegram, January 16, 2000 by V.R. Cann

“Director Christopher Grabowski and the set and costume designer, Kris Stone, have succeeded marvelously in creating Ruth’s stuck world soon to be unstuck by Lisa, her awestruck and gifted protégé.  Stone’s rumpled studio/living room, littered with books, papers, letters and magazines in organized but untidy stacks, creates the perfect setting to receive the ensuing emotional and intellectual drama.”

Brunwsick Times Record, January 20, 2000 by Barbara Barels

“The cozy cluttered Greenwich Village apartment, designed by Kris Stone, is that of an artist who collected the things of her life-albums, books, television, baskets, prints, in the 50’s and 60’s.  And costumes suite the circumstances.  I was particularly taken by a handsome brown sweater Linklater wears, a sweater that grows more and more worn as Ruth does the same.”



A Midsummer Night’s Dream Directed by Christopher Grabowski (Yale Repertory Theater)

The New Haven Advocate, March 5, 1998 by Christopher Arnott

Kris Stone, a student and protégé of the esteemed designer Ming Cho Lee, has fashioned a phantasmagoric environment (cunningly kept concealed until the end of the first act) which is buttressed by an overhanging kinetic sculpture of umbrellas, a horizontal forest of metal rods and a stage surface of bouncy ramps – all in algae-like hues of green, blue and gray.”

The Yale Herald, February 27, 1998 by Brian Levinson

“The production’s greatest triumph, though, is Stone’s breathtaking set.  Colored with rich blues and greens, it has the dark, foreboding grandeur of a Rousseau painting.  It’s an enchanted forest of the imagination, where illuminated brass pipes replace trees and a host of moving umbrellas stands in for the overhanging canopy of leaves.  The characters run, roll, and jump over the numerous inclined planes, climb up the pipes, play on the metal swing, and sneak through the trap door. Fairies and humans pop up over ridges, bizarre sounds fill the air, and there are even live musicians.”

New Haven Register, February 26, 1998 by E. Kyle Minor

“One aspect of Yale Rep’s production that transcends all sense of time is Kris Stone’s delightfully imaginative set design.  The Athenian forest is a vibrant, seductively mysterious place, flanked on both sides and upstaged by steep ramps.  Gravity pulls its inhabitants toward its center, as if embracing them from the artificial world beyond its borders.  Trees, consisting of straight poles topped with motley umbrellas, protect the sprites, mechanicals and courtiers who fall under their spell.”



Ethan Frome Directed by Dennis Krausnick (Shakespeare & Company’s Founders’ Theater)

WAMC Review, September 9, 2003 by Genie Zust

“The set is beautiful and stark, a clear evocation of our Berkshire winters, well conceived by Kris Stone and painted by Camilla Frauendorf.”

The News-Times, October 5, 2003 by Chesley Plemmons

“Kris Stone’s scenic design, the interior of the bleak Frome farmhouse and the wintry landscape behind it, casts a poetic balance between the tenuousness of life and the eternity of nature.”

Berkshire Record, September 19, 2003 by Harriet Bergmann

“The set by Kris Stone deserves special mention.  A chill and snow-covered Berkshire landscape stretches out as a backdrop, with the spare Frome house is on stage.”



The Tempest Directed by Eleanor Holdridge (Shakespeare & Company’s Founders’ Theater)

Newberkshire.com, August 11, 2001 by Frances Benn Hall

“Kris Stone using symbols of alchemy and astronomy has designed a minimalist set that is so fascinating in its seemingly stark simplicity that a walk around the balcony is a rewarding intermission experience.”

CurtainUp, Bershire Review, August 12, 2001 by Elyse Sommer

“The play’s fantastical elements have inspired many innovative productions, but you’d be hard-pressed to find on that is as much fun and at the same time more satisfyingly moving that this one.  Kris Stone’s set incorporates Prospero’s scientific and alchemical concerns – from the floor painted a deep blue with planetary images to the gold canopy imprinted with phrases such as ‘artic circle’ and ‘moveable horizon.’”



Orfeo ed Euridice Directed by Karen Tiller (Opera Festival of New Jersey – McCarter Theater)

Time Off, July 13, 2001 by Stuart Duncan

“Scenic designer Kris Stone has provided sets of simple elegance and F. Mitchell Dana has lit them with his customary attention to the moods involved.  Not the subtlety of the scene in which ladders, representing the escape routes from Hades, withdraw silently as options decrease.”

The Star Ledger, July 9, 2001 by Peter Wynne

“The spare but handsome scenery for the opera, designed by Kris Stone and effectively lit by F. Mitchell Dana, is very much in ballet style – scenic pieces that are more abstract than representational; a color palette limited largely to black, white and gray; a level stage floor throughout, save for a pair of curving staircases that are rolled in for the finale.”

The Times of Trenton, July 12, 2001 by Donald P. Delany

“The production is filled with imaginative touches, which give an air of reality to the ancient tale.  In one of them, ladders extend from the stage floor up into the flies, ostensible connections between earth the world of gods and goddesses.”

The New York Times, July 14, 2001 by Anne Midgette

“A visually elegant ‘Orfeo ed Euridice.’”



Burning Bright Directed by Karen Tiller (Opera Festival of New Jersey – McCarter Theater)

Opera News, November 2000

“Based on John Steinbeck’s play of the same name, Lewin’s opera portrays a man’s obsession with obtaining an heir.  Steinbeck’s drama boasts only four characters, but the playwright adds a universal dimension to his intimate story by shifting its locale from a circus tent to a farmhouse and later to the cabin of a freighter moored in New York harbor.  Lewin places the opera’s final scene in a spaceship – here suggested by a stunning backdrop of twinkling stars. …The spare but telling production boasts a strong staging from Karen Tiller and effective scenery by Kris Stone.  The designer simply suggests the different locales through backdrops depicting circus tents, windmills, and the jutting prows of ships.”

Princeton Packet, July 19, 2000 by Susan Van Dongen

“Set designer Kris Stone is also making her Opera Fest debut, and has created four stunning sets of four different locations.”