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The Cure for the Common poster

by Phineas X. Jones

Drawing inspiration from historical events, period images and text and the Strange Tree Group’s own vividly illustrative work, graphic designer Phineas X. Jones created the distinctive design for the promotional materials of The Three Faces of Doctor Crippen. A longtime collaborator with Strange Tree who has created many of their past marketing images, Jones shares their sense of macabre whimsy that infects every Strange Tree Group production. Historically specific and detail oriented, Jones’ work has helped shape the visual identity of the company on and off the stage. What research did you do to prepare for the three faces of doctor Crippen? The initial research I did was rather by accident. I had only recently finished Erik Larson’s book Thunderstruck—which is about the Crippen case, framed by Marconi’s invention of the wireless telegraph—so I was already on board before I knew Emily was planning to write a play on the same subject. Beyond that, my research has been mostly finding a lot of visual references for the Doctor himself and the other characters in the story. I’ve also been going through a fair amount of contemporaneous Victorian design (medicine bottles, labels and such like) since the poster is meant to be a label for a notional vial of one of the Doctor’s homeopathic “cures.”