The Transit of Venus

   The action takes place on the deck of Joan Harper’s beach house in southeastern Wisconsin, facing east from the western shore of Lake Michigan. The audience is seated as if in the water, with the morning sun rising behind them.
   The house is of casual, contemporary design, with its back wall stretching across much of the Upstage area. Protruding from the middle of the wall is a brick or stone chimney; clustered Downstage of the chimney is an artful selection of Joan’s large pottery pieces. Two pairs of French doors flank the chimney. The Up Left doors lead to the kitchen; the Up Right doors lead to the living room. A series of rectangular wooden decks descends from the house to the beach.
   Level 5 is the floor height of the house, extending across the back wall. Level 4, Left, is an observation platform with two chairs, where the telescope will be set up. Level 3 is the main deck, Center, with a low table and two chairs. Level 2, Down Right, contains a small dining table with chairs. Level 1 represents the beach, with a chaise longue Down Left. Trees and shrubs block the view beyond the house. A clearing in the trees, Right, accessible from Level 3 by stairs, provides the Off Right exit for Nate’s run.
   Simple wooden railings delineate the edges of the higher levels. The railings at the Downstage end of the observation deck and the Upstage end of the dining deck are topped with shallow counter tops, also constructed of wooden decking.
   Decking, railings, counters, and the house have the silver patina of weathered, unpainted wood. Outdoor furnishings are tasteful and contemporary, but not too modern. Additional samples of Joan’s pottery, as well as potted flowers, provide colorful accents.

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