PNCA at the Ballet


Illustration major Liliya Drubetskaya designs the set of The Portland Ballet's A Midsummer Night's Dream

PNCA illustration student Liliya Drubetskaya has designed the backdrop for this year’s Thanksgiving weekend production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by The Portland Ballet (TPB).

This isn’t the first time Drubetskaya has worked with TPB. Last year, she created a single backdrop for the world premiere production of the ballet. This year, she’s responsible for four backdrop panels of the ballet.


Dark Sky. Set illustration by Liliya Drubetskaya.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is choreographed by John Clifford and is a lavishly detailed production. In this critically-praised ballet, a cast of 80 dances to Mendelssohn’s lilting score, which is performed by the PSU Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Ken Selden, and sung by students from PSU’s acclaimed opera program. The production set incorporates costumes by Mary Muhlbach, lighting by Michael Mazzola, and an enchanted-forest set by PNCA’s own Liliya Drubetskaya.


A scene from TPB’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, with Maggie Rupp as Titania and Josh Murry as Bottom. Photo by Blaine Truitt Covert.

John Clifford, renowned choreographer of A Midsummer Night’s Dream observes, “Full of sub-plots and twists, at its heart Midsummer is all about love….”

Drubetskaya’s set design plays with the ballet’s themes of enchantment and dreams. Because the characters move between a forest and fairyland, Drubetskaya’s four backdrops situate the ballet in an enchanted woodland that evokes details from both. Shakespeare often set his plays in forests, which are both secretive and mysterious, and full of unexplained sounds and shadows. In her set paintings, Drubetsyaka conveys that peculiar sense of unease combined with nostalgia.

From Drubetskaya’s artist bio, “Currently, studying illustration at Pacific Northwest College of Art, Drubetskaya’s style is influenced by her Ukranian cultural background. She enjoys using gouache and watercolor in her work and uses her graphic design experience to guide the space and layout. Her biggest inspiration is the natural world and the city of Portland.”

You can see more of Drubetskaya’s work on her Flickr page and on her website.


Starry Sky. Set illustration by Liliya Drubetskaya.


Bright Night. Set illustration by Liliya Drubetskaya.


Day. Set illustration by Liliya Drubetskaya.

You can watch a preview of the 2011 performance, which uses Drubetskaya’s backdrop.

by Killeen Hanson, MFA AC+D '12

— Posted on 11/13 at 03:49 PM

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