Unit 5: Outcomes

Research stage design in theatre and sceneries effect on the overall performance.

The whole premise of my predominantly conceptual project aim was that of how the setting can change one singular scene. The concept was to take one single scene and see the effects of changing the said scene on how it is interpreted taking the characters surroundings into account. I chose the scene as two figures, one kneeling and the other stood. This seemed like a very typical scenario, especially in theatre and much more meaning could be found than just two silhouettes stood or sat. Through this process, and researching the effects of scenery in real life theatrical performances I came up with the following theoretical outcomes.

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The Stage: For the stage I created a basis box stage. This is based on a very common box stage set up with open sides and back so that the scenery and background can be changed with ease.

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The Cloister: Based on classical theatre such as Shakespearian plays and creates a mood of drama. Some possible scene interpretation could be a person praying/begging for forgiveness or someone dying at the hands of the other.

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I based this scenery on the architecture of Bristol Cathedral.

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The City: This scene was created to represent more modern theatre, that of book of mormon or Chicago. There are many interpretations of this scene such as someone begging for money, a street violence scene or something as simple as one character picking up a wallet that the other character dropped.

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The Castle: This scene was created to represent a very typical fantasy type setting, one found in a Disney story inspired production or perhaps a pantomime. This scene creates a feeling of youth and escapism with such interpretations as a prince proposing or a pauper being presented with there fairy godmother.

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The Ballroom: This scene was created inspired by period/historical drama Les Mis or Phantom of the Opera and gives it an air of sophistication. Such interpretations of this scene could be a servant responding to there master or perhaps someone has come down ill (this is often portrayed in this type of production as highly dramatised and over-exaggerated)

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Conclusion:

I beige I successfully put together a range of stage designs and showed the effects that scenery has on the interpretation of the events being acted out.

Having had to take some time off during this unit I feel I could have put together more designs and to a possibly higher standard had my personal issue arise ash the time.

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The Importance of Theatrical Scenery

Theatrical scenery – is that which is used as a setting for a theatrical production. Scenery may be just about anything, from a single chair to an elaborately re-created street, no matter how large or how small, whether the item was custom-made or is the genuine item, appropriated for theatrical use.

Upon hearing that the Unit 5 project in my art and design course was based around performance I struggled to link the concept to my chosen field of architecture. Seeing my peers focussing predominantly on costume design didn’t help my temporary cluelessness. I thought back to the different theatrical performances I have both been part of and watched and it suddenly came to me. Set design.

What better to focus on architectural theory on than the all important backdrops. although perhaps an easy aspect of a theatrical performance to forget, what would a performance be without its setting. As a writer, the location is one of the most crucial aspects when setting the scene, no different to a theatrical performance.

I myself have been part in a few productions, namely Romeo and Juliet. I have seen Les Miserables, The Lion King, Wicked, Book of Mormon, Cats and many more shows at the theatre. Although by no means an expert, I have seen enough shows to remember now the importance of the backdrops.

The lion king and Cats are two very interesting plays to compare, due to their feline-centred storylines. One of the king of the jungle and the other around the lion’s much loved domesticated cousin.

Just watching the very short trailers for each of the plays, the stark difference in tone, as represented within the lighting, music and the all important backdrops are significant. On the one had there is the lion king, bright, optimistic and dynamic. The story is set in the animal kingdom living in the African savannah. Cats on the other hand is more mysterious and has a darker overall atmosphere.

This really does represent the respective stories well. The lion king is set in a world where the animals rule, and the monarchs so to speak here are the lions, the main focuss of the story. This tells the audience right away what kind of world the characters exist in. One where they thrive and live without worry. The only time the scenes get darker are when there is conflict, or the antagonist, scar, is in his layer. This is basic theory of foreshadowing and setting creating atmosphere. Cats on the other world tells of the lives of the cats who live and exist in a far different world. The backstreets and alleyways of the city. Cats is a production famous for breaking the fourth wall by interacting with the audience, and in a way this makes sense. If the cast of the lion king interacted with the audience it would break that fantasy animal kingdom where seemingly humans do not even exist, or rather are no where near the events unfolding in the story. In cats there is not this problem, the story takes place amongst the underbelly of the city, where humans exist and live lives as we know ourselves to be true. If there were a plain backdrop this overall feel of each production would not be created and the story would need additional narrative through actual acting or through narration which after all would take away from the core stories being told. the scenery is a quick and easy method to create and atmosphere and make the viewing of the play a more immersive experience, ultimately making the audiences experience a smoother and more enjoyable one.

Unit 5: Personal Experimental Studies – Performance

Performance – in the performing arts, generally comprises an event in which a performer or group of performers present one or more works of art to an audience.

Some Examples of Types of Performance:

Dance: Ballet, acrobatics, ballroom, hip-hop, modern, tap.

Music: Busking, concert, musical, orchestra, opera, recital.

Theatre: Play, mime, stand-up comedy, pantomime.

 

Specialist pathway: Architecture

Adaptive re-use of an existing historical building to create a performance space e.g North Duisburg.

  • The Rhur valley, a region in west Germany. Known for its industrial history and subsequent industrial architecture style. Several buildings have been turned into performance spaces.

Idea 1: Church Restoration

Steps:

  1. Take photos on the exterior and interior of the church St Mary le Port Church on castle green.
  2. Draw interior, build up “performance space” in lares upon photo base.
  3. Take photos of performers (some of my classmates)
  4. Insert said “performers” into the scene using photoshop.
  5. Copy and print layers on acetate.
  6. Layer the layers in a book style and present my proposed performance space in this way.

After doing some deeper research I discovered the church is in fact left in ruin as a form of memorial to those who died in the blitz of world war two, and is listed as a grade two building. I thus decided this idea would not work, or rather would not be inappropriate and went back to the drawing board so to speak to come up with another concept.

Idea 2: Derelict Building – Atë

I was going to opt for a similar process to above, except rather than a church I was going to try and find derelict buildings use these as the base for my designs instead.

In order to obtain these photos, I asked my father to help me out. He works as a fireman and I thought he could allow me. I explained to him the idea, of which he said he could probably arrange, however upon him trying to sort out the health and safety aspects, He realised that the paperwork would take far too long to complete to match the given brief. I thus decided this idea was thus not practical.

Idea 3: Theatrical Scenery

  1. Design a small 3d “Stage” box
  2. Create a scene using silhouetted characters.
  3. Design 3-5 backdrops to place behind this scene
  4. take note how each scene effects the scene and changes its meaning.

Ideas for possible scenes:

  • Fantasy (castle)
  • Sci-Fi (invented planet, city or spaceship)
  • Modern city scape (New York/London etc)
  • Garden/farm scene
  • War scene
  • ???

I decided that this idea was far more practical for this project and began my research into that of theatrical set design, an aspect of performing arts I have wanted to explore for some time.