July 17th, 2020 by Karen Burg. Video: Chase Helzer

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Alkenny new village... Centuries into a dystopian future, humans have lost the sense of sight. Chieftain of the Alkenny tribe Baba Voss [Jason Momoa] and his people have adapted by enhanced use of their other senses and organization of their villages. Photo Courtesy of Apple.

Set Decorator Sandy Walker SDSA

Production Designer Caroline Hanania

Apple TV +

A virus has decimated humankind. Those who survived emerged blind.
Jason Momoa stars as the father of twins born centuries later with the mythic ability to see—who must protect his tribe against a threatened queen.   –AppleTV+
Several centuries after a viral apocalypse, the world has been rebuilding itself, both Nature and the peoples of the world, who are gathered in tribes defined by their environments and their adaptations to and of them. 
Producer Peter Chernin points out, “Gradually television has been trying to do a better job of reflecting the world, and yet we see very few visually-impaired people on screen.” Many sight-impaired actors were hired to ensure accuracy and inclusivity. Here, although the tribes are very different in how they’ve adapted, they all share the commonality of not having sight, and that not being an impediment. 
Production Designer Caroline Hanania and Set Decorator Sandy Walker SDSA were tasked with representing that visually with the sets depicting the way of life for each of the unique tribes, in which they incorporated the repurposing of objects that would still be around hundreds of years in our ways that blind cultures would develop!

Sandy emphasizes that the collaboration with all the teams in this production was key, as there was so much crossover, particularly in that juxtaposition of creativity and practicality.  
She notes, “The expertise and perspective of Associate Producer/Blindness Consultant Joe Strechay was invaluable, not only for the actors, in how to move and react, but also for set dec and props, for building the world, helping us create the world.”
Joe points out, “Any time you lose a sense, you start to focus on your other senses and will start to pick up information in a different way.”
Sandy recalls, “I would have Joe and his team come down to our set dec lock-up and workshop and test the items that we built to see if they were actually practical for a blind person...” 
She smiles, “Often, it turned out they were not!”
Click on the video for great stories about this and the adaptations Sandy and her team made! 
Check out the gallery above for details of some of the amazing well as insights as to the choices Sandy and her teams made...for instance, knots serve as a written language, knotted ropes and strings give information and tell stories.
It was a fascinating experience for all.
We know you will enjoy!
Karen Burg, Editor


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Alkenny mountaintop village... Baba Voss [Jason Momoa] leads his people to a safe passage as they are being pursued by the vicious Witchfinder army who plan to kill his new-born children... Photo Courtesy of Apple.

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Alkenny mountaintop village... The Alkenny are known for their rope-making skills. Thus, the lashed structures and furniture and the guidelines through the village. The tendril-like frayed pieces not only show the age of the settlement, but also serve as tangible guides, touching the tallest of the villagers on their heads, enabling them to keep on course. Others use their staffs to occasionally tap the ropes above to assure they’re on track... Photo Courtesy of Apple.

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Alkenny mountaintop village... Set decoration as an art as well as visual storytelling. Photo Courtesy of Apple.

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Alkenny mountaintop village... Note the wind-flute instrument that can be heard throughout the mountain passes and this ancient settlement... Photo Courtesy of Apple.

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On the road... Seeking safe passage for his people, Baba Voss [Jason Momoa] reads a knotted message left by Jerlamarel, a mysterious person helping them. The hanging wind chimes give sound clues to help him find the messages along the way. The staffs that the tribespeople carry help navigate the rough landscape... Photo Courtesy of Apple.

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New Alkenny village... The new settlement is on a high meadow, next to a good water source... Photo Courtesy of Apple.

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New Alkenny village... A few years’ time jump forward, the Alkenny people have adjusted to their new life...and for the most part, have been safely ensconced along the treeline... Photo Courtesy of Apple.

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New Alkenny village... Communal kitchen, with an ancient truckbed serving as stove, complete with a built-in shelf! Photo Courtesy of Apple.

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Alkenny village... Repurposing is a way of life. Here, roof tiles are made of rubber tires, one of the items that remained over the centuries... Set Decorator Sandy Walker SDSA recalls, “We searched the internet to find out what objects actually will survive a couple of centuries in the future. The disturbing thing is that the number one thing that would survive forever is diapers! And the second is plastics...” Click on the video for much more about their discoveries! Photo Courtesy of Apple.

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Alkenny village... One of the guidelines goes directly from the village center square to Baba Voss’s cottage. These roofs are made of birchbark, not as decorative as the crosshatching & tread marks on the tire-shingles, but very functional, and fairly easily resourced by the villagers when needed... Photo Courtesy of Apple.

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Alkenny village... The rack outside the dwelling is an efficient storage utility... Note the windchimes hanging from each dwelling on the beautifully carved posts, indicating each household’s uniqueness. Photo Courtesy of Apple.

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Alkenny village... Baba Voss’s cottage stands at the end of the village. Note the carved poles designating that he is chieftain of the tribe, and the beautiful, artful lashing of ropes... Photo Courtesy of Apple.