In Dog Years I’m Dead centres on Emily and David, two 29-year olds who meet at a 1983 themed 30th birthday party. When I was researching the production with director Maisie Lee and performer Marie Ruane, we came across a list – Thirty Things Which Turn Thirty in 2013. The list inspired the 1983 party as well as many other elements in the play (a girl dressed as a Chicken McNugget, Microsoft Word, Billy Jean, Glenroe, Return of the Jedi, Grafton Street’s aging cobblestones, Fraggle Rock, Eamon Coughlin’s gold medal at the World Athletic Championships).
I designed and made graphic props for the show, including invitations to the party and 30th birthday cards which you can see here. I decided to replicate the feel of these in the look and contents of our show programme. The cover (above) is a hat-tip to the Wham Bar, a three-decade old confection and a fixture of my primary school-yard. In a less than romantic moment, David pulls a melted pair of Whams from his pocket at the party.
Inside the programme, the palette moves away from primary to pastel. For backgrounds, I used two iconic patterns which for me scream, or more appropriately screech, Saved by the Bell and 80s MTV – Nuwave and Wiggle.
Throughout, I dotted speech bubble quotes about the move to a third decade. I put detail in the footers about the number 30 and things that turn thirty. To fit with the gentle fun we poke at nostalgia, we gathered childhood pictures of the cast, creatives and crew for their headshots, And, for good measure, I wrote biogs for Care Bear and Cabbage Patch Kid, our not entirely inanimate supporting cast.