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The Five: Theater


4. Hands on a Hardbody’s Star Vehicle
In a play about ten people competing to win a truck, the truck itself is perhaps the most important, and certainly the biggest, character onstage. Here, a closer look.

Set designer Christine Jones wanted the truck to feel larger than life, which meant it had to always look as good as new. “Mike Pilipski, our props person, has spent so many hours polishing this truck,” she says. “It’s a sexy beast at this point.”

To give the truck movement, stage-vehicle manufacturer Tim Figgatt gutted the inside; it’s mounted on casters and a hydraulic lift, allowing the truck to rise half an inch off the ground, spin, and glide side to side.

The truck is a Nissan, just like the truck in the documentary the show is based on, and a 2001 model (more-recent trucks are just too huge to work onstage). “It’s kind of an Everyman’s truck,” Jones says.

Director Neil Pepe’s challenge: figuring out how to keep the characters visible to the audience when they’re circled around the truck. “There were a lot of discussions about what angle the truck should be at for specific scenes,” he says. “There’s always somebody on the upstage end of the truck. Sometimes you can see someone through the windows, which is cool.” —Rebecca Milzoff

(In previews for a March 21 opening.)

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