March 14, 2014

‘Orange Is the New Black’ Set Recalls Century of Movie Lore

The set for the Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black” is dark now, so only shadows and dim shapes hover in its warren of prison cells and other rooms built on the main soundstage at Kaufman Astoria Studio in Queens.

“Attention,” says a sign taped outside a vile “bathroom,” warning people not to dump anything into the drains. “These sinks are not real.”

That is prudent. You could rub a hand across a real-to-the-touch sink in one place, and punch through a “blocktile” wall in another.

In this 46,000-square-foot stage is nearly a century of illusions built on plywood substrates, all gone without a trace except in those places where they live on as full-bodied reality: on film and in the mind’s eye.

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