nsissons_big.jpgThe Basics
Age and occupation. How long have you lived here, where did you come from, and where do you live now?
I'm 38yrs, a set designer for the theatre, from Britain and Australia, officially a Brit now living in the East Village; which happens to be a great location for my relatives who make constant trips between the two! I've lived here for about 12 years and couldn't live anywhere else right now, although if I ever make any large sums of money it would be nice to get some space out of this big metropolis, lets say a little farm house in Italy would be heaven, Okay upstate NY would be good too......as long as I could come back here in the fall and early winter.

Three for You
1. As a set designer, you're always working on something cool (e.g., a Philip Seymour Hoffman play) but would you take a star-studded Broadway spectacle over a downtown minimalist show?
My preference would always be interesting work; important plays, generally exciting ideas in the theatre. I would be more than ready to work at a Broadway theatre if all these elements were in place. So far I've worked more off-Broadway, actually I've worked with some amazing artists on and off, including the company you mention, run by Philip Seymour Hoffman, so I'm not complaining about downtown at all... I recently designed a production of 'The Doll House' at St Anne's Warehouse and Mabou Mines and all the male characters were played by little people and the women actors of regular height, the director was Lee Bruer, it was an amazing piece. An actor and the director won Obies this year, for the show.

2. How excited were you about your Drama Desk nomination? Did you celebrate like the UConn fans after the Huskies won the basketball championship, that is with rioting and arrests?
I have a Drama Desk and American Theatre Wing nomination as well as a BackStage West award, it's all great fun, with few arrests! However, my plastic BackStage West award trophy fell on a friends foot recently, the corner of the diamond trophy stabbing her toe, could have caused a scene, but she was too polite! This is the closest I've come to riots at my house? I can't wait till the Tony falls on my foot, BUT I'll have to win one first.

3. Not to give away any trade secrets but where are your favorite haunts for scavenging up set pieces? Thrift stores, flea markets? And have you ever found something that could land you on "Antiques Roadshow"?
I don't get to look for things for the shows that often, they hire the professionals for that, however I've been to flea markets on 26th Street many times for fun. Actually come to think of it, I recently went dumpster diving while doing a production at New York Theatre Workshop, the set was an instillation under a bridge and we needed nasty junk and I offered to help the props department! The offer was readily accepted! On the 'Antiques Roadshow' I dream that one day my stuff could be sold for millions but it's going to be a while before the flat screen telly or the Ikea bookshelves mean anything to anyone?

Proust-Krucoff Questionnaire
Best celebrity sighting in New York, or personal experience with one if you're that type.
Often work with known actors, so that would be a list of amazing talent from Uma Thurman to Kevin Kline. I recently worked on a production of 'As You Like It' and there were so many brilliant actors, sort of a who's who in the American Theatre.

Just after midnight on a Saturday - what are you doing?
Often at a wine bar, dinner with friends... but frequently in a tech rehearsal with a show! I sound like a workaholic, not true though, I'm actually surrounded by my friends in the theatre, so the time we spend working together is fun times well spent. Never a dull moment and plenty of after hours drinking and story telling.

What's the most expensive thing in your wardrobe?
My Kate Spade bags, does this count? They live in the wardrobe...

Where do you summer?
Summer theatre productions most often; Williamstown Theatre Festival, Edinburgh Festival, New York Stage and Film to name a few. This year I'll be in San Francisco for a few weeks. I also try to get to friends places upstate or in Maine, try to get out of the city in the hot days of summer, if I do stay in town I love going to outdoor bars to cool off, glass of chardonnay and a random breeze can be paradise on earth.

Just how much do you really love New York?
I love it so much that I arrived here to work on a film 12 years ago and never left! I bought a little apartment last year, that's commitment at these prices. Can't imagine living anywhere else, but I can't imagine trying to start again in another city. Love the convenience of getting around town, I can walk everywhere. The faces that make up NYC and the style is so interesting and original, just going a black or two downtown is inspiring I think.

What happened the last time you went to L.A.?
I rushed back to NYC! Well actually I'm a fan of public transport so even though LA is wonderful, I'm stranded there, hopeless non driver problem, yes I'm 38 travelled the globe but can't drive!

If you could change one thing about New York, what would it be?
High on my list would be to create affordable housing for the poor and homeless, even if it was to recycle storage containers, rebuild old buildings, improve peoples lives and restore some hope for those that need it. I recently saw an exhibition up town at the Museum of Design; there was a metal container for shipping and some artist had made it into a house with a glass front and an overhead awning, put a few together and you'd have a fantastic looking town of recycled homes, could even paint them odd colors, or paint numbers, old shipping signs anything and it would be amazing. Float them and have house boats... anything would be possible with some time and effort...


Here is Narelle's Playbill biography.