Design Reviews

“Brothers Size” by Tarell Alvin McCraney
2012 for Manbites Dog Theater — Set and Costume Design

(A) mystical world that envelops the audience from the start….  Derrick Ivey’s imposing matrix of hanging tires and ropes and Kathy A. Perkins’ stark, eerie lighting provide the otherworldly setting for this mesmerizing staging.

— Roy Dicks, Raleigh News and Observer

“Breadcrumbs” by Jennifer Haley
2010 for Manbites Dog Theater — Set and Costume Design

Derrick Ivey’s scenic design superimposes Alida’s apartment upon a wilderness of cross-sectioned tree trunks and branches extending from the floor through the false ceiling above. Not only is Ivey’s set a shelter that offers no shelter, it’s also a brilliant and eerie visual analogue for the forest of synapses depicted in medical photography. As Alida gets increasingly lost in the thickets onstage, we know the same thing is happening, physically, inside her brain.

— Byron Woods, The Independent

A very special mention must be made of the indispensable contributions to this production of Derrick Ivey, its set and costume designer.  I do not know whether the playwright specifies a scenic plan at all like the one displayed here, but Ivey’s fantastic environment limns her play beautifully, with its evocation of a frightful, initially inscrutable yet somehow invitingly enchanted wood, the stuff both of childish terrors and their attendant, unlimited possibility — that “infinite, indifferent darkness” between childish desire and adult reality, which strikes unreasoned fear of the dream even as it liberates the dreamer.

— Scott Ross, Classical Voice of North Carolina

… (A) truly magnificent production, whose brilliantly imagined set by scenic designer Derrick Ivey personifies the thickets of Alida’s mind by bringing the forest inside and interspersing tree trunks and furniture to indicate how far into the figurative woods Alida had already wandered and how unlikely it is that she will ever be able to retrace her steps.

— Robert McDowell, Triangle Theater Review

Derrick Ivey’s imaginative setting of real tree trunks, suggesting Gretel’s forest, is dramatically enhanced by Andrew Parks’ magical lighting.

— Roy Dicks, Raleigh News and Observer

“God’s Ear” by Jenny Schwartz
2o1o for Manbites Dog Theater — Set Design


Derrick Ivey also designed the set, which is another of his fine simple-in-concept designs that allows for a great variety of scenes and types of movement, and that expresses basic realities of the world it takes us to. The stage floor is covered with low platforms of varying sizes and heights. This is rough terrain, indeed, with deep ditches and hidden pits.

— Kate Dobbs Ariail, The Independent

“The Receptionist” by Adam Bock
2009 for Manbites Dog Theater — Set and Costume Design
•   Honorable Mention, Best Scenic Design for 2009.


Ivey…deserves praise for his scenic design of a convincingly bland office environment.

— Zack Smith, The Independent

Derrick Ivey also designed the show’s costumes and its excellent set….

— Kate Dobbs Ariail, Classical Voice of North Carolina

(T)he production is intriguing, especially as played out against Derrick Ivey’s witty office set of glass walls and wood paneling.

— Roy Dicks, Raleigh News and Observer

“Act a Lady” by Jordan Harrison
2008 for Manbites Dog Theater — Costume Design


The indefatigable Ivey, a mainstay of Triangle theater for many years, also designed the excellent costumes for this show.

— Kate Dobbs Ariail, Classical Voice of North Carolina

“Dying City” by Christopher Shinn
2008 for Manbites Dog Theater — Set and Costume Design
•   Listed Among Top Production Designs for 2008.


Credit is due to Derrick Ivey for the sparse yet engaging set, particularly for his New York skyline, represented through stark white rectangles of varying sizes that lurked in the shadows like a barricade of ghostly guards.

— Megan Stein, The Independent

Manbites Dog’s compact black box space is ideal for a play like this, putting the audience in discomfiting proximity to the actors, with the theater’s black walls magnifying the tension. And Derrick Ivey’s angular set design adds to “Dying City’s” unsettling feel.

— Orla Swift, Raleigh News and Observer

Its power comes partly from its strong stage design…. Sets and costumes are by the multitalented Derrick Ivey, star of stage and backstage in innumerable Triangle productions over the years. My astute companion noticed that Ivey’s set design, a living room with the New York skyline out the windows, is remarkably similar to that of Alfred Hitchcock’s experimental 1948 film Rope

— Kate Dobbs Arial, Classical Voice of North Carolina

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s