Design Process


Ah, Wilderness, Eugene O’Neil’s only comedy, was one of three shows that played in rep for 42 performances throughout a summer season. I designed all three shows as a big puzzle with one show on stage with the other two stored in pieces upstage and in the wings.

As written Wilderness has three locations with the Miller family home the center of the action both literally and metaphorically. The director and I decided that the Miller home would remain on stage throughout the play and the two other sets, a low-life bar and a moon lit beach, would shift on/off á vista.

The play, an affectionate look at family life in New England in July 1906, can easily succumb to excessive “Americana” flourishes and sepia tinted sentiment. The director told me that although he liked Americana, I should go easy on the spindles!


"His scenic designs for the Utah Shakespearean Festival.. captured the aesthetic essence and physical presence required by the text, the director’s point of view, and the collaborative efforts of his colleagues. I have rarely, if ever, seen a record of such consistent ‘aesthetic success’ combined with the virtues of meeting deadlines and staying within budget. I am truly impressed that Umfrid can invariably achieve these ends without responding to formulaic solutions. Rather, he continues to manipulate his aesthetic contribution until it meets all the criteria described above without sacrificing its uniqueness or appropriateness. This (is the) model of a solid working professional…" — Cameron Harvey, Producing Artistic Director, Utah Shakespearean Festival

"Tom possesses the unique qualities which are so important in the theatre. He is an artist first and foremost but one who can draw on a wealth of knowledge in the decorative arts and has the technical know-how to ensure that his designs are both beautiful and practicable…Unlike many other designers, Tom is not afraid to pull back when appropriate and let the actors fill a space almost devoid of scenery..." — Linda Essig, Lighting Designer



By: Eugene O’Neil
Director: James Edmondson
Venue: Utah Shakespearean Festival
Scenic Design: Thomas C. Umfrid
Lighting Designer: Linda Essig
Costume Designer: K.L. Alberts
Hair & Makeup Designer: Ruth Carsch
Technical Director: Philip C. Haslam
Prop Master: Alex Hilgenkamp
Design Assistant: Casey Smith
Stage Manager:  Karen Wegner
Photographer: Karl Hugh