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THEA202 Study Guide

by: Rachel Schmuckler

THEA202 Study Guide THEA202

Marketplace > University of Delaware > Theatre > THEA202 > THEA202 Study Guide
Rachel Schmuckler

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About this Document

Study guide for the final exam
Introduction to Theatre Design
William Browning
Study Guide
theater, Theater Design, Design, THEA202, Browning, Sound, lighting, costumes, props, Scenery
50 ?




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This 8 page Study Guide was uploaded by Rachel Schmuckler on Friday January 29, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to THEA202 at University of Delaware taught by William Browning in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 34 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Theatre Design in Theatre at University of Delaware.


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Date Created: 01/29/16
THEA202 Introduction to Theater Design William Browning Study Guide – Final Exam The theatre is both a building and an activity Earliest beginnings: people in a village gather around a fire to tell stories Live storyteller + live audience = essential components Evolution: more sophisticated, more genres Form of entertainment No thoughtful topics, but rather pure amusement Popular, yet sometimes dismissed as unimportant Sociological interaction, psychological diversion from everyday cares Form of art “god’s eye view” Shape perceptions of human experience Imagination, emotion, intellect = directly involved “willing suspension of disbelief” Aesthetic view Closest art form to life Most psychological form of art Encompasses all aspects of art Human experience communicated by humans Live audience + live actors Short-lived in nature (unlike a painting, etc) Primary art form: originating artist produces work of art (painting, sculpture) Secondary art form: interpretation of the playwright’s script (original artwork) Director is the principle interpreter Various genres (plays, musicals, operas, ballets, dance, concerts, etc) Scripted plays: many design aspects apply to the most genres of performance Parts of a play: actors, stage manager, costumes, makeup, scenery, stage, light, sound, props, director, designers, crews, audience, ushers, box office Theatre = labor intensive Organization is key Actors and more personnel backstage “design” Verb: to conceive and plan out Noun: underlying scheme that governs functioning, developing, or unfolding Common Design Aspects: scenery, properties, costumes, light, sound, etc Theater Performing Space = “actor-audience relationship” Audience relationship varies with size and intimacy Proscenium Theatre Most common Proscenium arch framing stage/acting area functioning as a picture frame (always decorative) Apron of stage = forestage (size varies) Audience straight from the stage Balconies, boxes Front curtain Orchestra pit Least intimate setting Seats can be far from stage Movies, churches, classrooms, speakers at a podium Thrust Theatre Old type Three sides of audience = “three-quarter” Greek and Roman amphitheaters Steeply elevated seating Scenery limited to back of stage No curtain or orchestra pit Vomitoriums More intimate setting Fashion shows, beauty pageants, modern churches Arena Theatre Oldest type (villages around a fire) Roman colosseum Audience around entire stage Steeply ranked seating Entrance at corners Restricted scenery Maximum amount of audience is close to the stage Most intimate setting Sporting events Sandwich Stage Theatre Seating on two opposing sides Other two sides are scenery and exits Black Box Theatre Arranged in any relationship Neutral black space with portable seating arrangements Orchestra seating: main floor area Apron: forestage Center line: divides L and R from actor POV when facing audience Plaster line: divides audience seating from performance area House line: divides L and R from audience’s POV when facing stage Downstage: toward audience (versus upstage) Disadvantages of Live Theatre Viewed by fewer people Actors slow to develop reps Very limited locations Costume changes Light and sound limitations Advantages of Live Theatre 3D nature of the experience (live actors, real locations in same room as audience) Special relationship with performers Every performance is unique A film is always the same Design elements play upon our imagination Film versus live Two very different art forms Neither is superior to the other Each creates its own experience Scenery Defined environment within or in front of which the play is performed 1 Define performing space Physical Walls, doors, etc Arranges physical space: determines performing area, off- stage, entrances, exits Virtual Reference a specific location at a time in history Important part in the “willing suspension of disbelief” Places the action 2 Staging the play Creates various staging possibilities Fulfill specific needs/ideas of play Create spatial relationship Focuses important moments of action or entrances 3 Provide a visual context Visual environment for multi-scene plays (Shakespeare) Production concept-style-design motif 4 Info about characters Economic status, living habits, relative health/mental status 5 Sets the tone Comedy, tragedy Heavy and serious vs light and frivolous Overall emotional nature of play 6 Practical functions Whatever the play requires Acoustical reflection of sound (i.e. walls) Hide distracting parts of the theatre Create a masked crossover Create a magical appearance Provide visual entertainment/spectacle Types of Scenery 1 Box Setting th 4 wall removed Walls, doors, windows, sometimes a ceiling Arches, steps, fireplaces, trim, etc add variety Backdrops outside windows and doors 2 Exterior Setting Difficult to make realistic Buildings, trees, sky representation Painted backdrops 3 Wing and Drop Scenery Originated in Renaissance – old! Ballet, opera, musicals Wings, borders, backdrops Changes “avista” using machines Tremendous painting skills Effective for displaying scenes that cannot be built 4 Unit Setting No specific scenic reference Stylized after an idea 3D units (platforms, steps, arches, etc) Good for multi-scene plays where exposition defines location 5 Simultaneous Setting Originated in Medieval Times in pageant wagons All sets in view of audience Use lights to shift between scenes Good for plays with 2-3 settings that are used multiple times Design Process Read the Play  Discuss with director  Research  Design Conference  More research if needed  Design Documentation  Prep Period  Techs and Dresses  Opening Night Design Documentation Floorplans: accurately scaled drawing of scenery on stage, stage rehearsal hall before scenery is complete Design Visualizations: 2D drawings or scale models (Painter’s Elevations, Designer Elevations) Properties Detail that makes scenery seem real Items not included in the other design aspects Provide spatial and plot detail Spatial: clutter on a desk Plot: cigarettes 1 Detail virtual space 2 Stage Business Items required from script or added for character business Possible useful sitting/elevating levels 3 Change locale for neutral sets 4 Character detail Info about health, money, job, personality Indicates character activity Design Process Read the play  Make a list of needed props  Research  Discuss with director and stage manager  Turn list and research over to prop manager  provide consultation during prep period and create design drawings as needed  Dress the set prior to first tech  respond as needed during techs and dresses  opening night Costumes Clothing/accessories the actor wears while performing Artistic statement made through bodily coverings and accessories which are the outward manifestations of a character fitting into the production style 1 Define characters Physical: age, gender, race, health Psychological: personality Social: social status, economic status, job 2 Elucidate the plot Indicate time (year, day, in history) Reflect the environment (nationality, region, ethnicity, locale) Define activity Define character relationships (protagonist vs antagonist, familial, affinity groups, sympathetic vs hostile) 3 Define production concept Style: relationship to reality Mood: emotional atmosphere/response Spectacle: visual stimulus Design Process Read the play  Discuss with director  Research  Share with director  Repeat as needed  Design documentation  Prep period  Techs and Dresses  Opening night Lighting Illumination which allows the audience to see the performance in the way the director wants it to be experienced 1 Visibility Full-stage to a tight pin spot Control what can be seen Good general illumination versus selective visibility options 2 Illusion of nature Natural Time of day – sun, moon Locale – indoors, outdoors, sun through trees, forest, island Atmospheric conditions – lightening, sunsets Artificial Torch, fire, candles 3 Establish Mood Moonlight, candles = dark and/or intimate Sunlight = comedy or brightness 4 Stage the play Places action Sets the tone Moves story from scene to scene Beginning to middle to end, transitions, etc Creates different scenes on neutral sets 5 Compose stage pictures Arranges stage picture Focuses attention (like pictures and paintings) Can add drama to stage 6 Reveal Form Create highlights/shadows Illustrates 3D nature of body/object Produces dramatic visual effect Common in dance 90 degree perpendicular effects 7 Spectacle Musicals Enhance theatrically Increase entertainment value Used to “wow” the audience Controllable qualities of light: intensity, color, distribution, movement Intensity: dimmers, wattage, number of lights on, distance from subject Color: color filters, mixing colors from two sources, dimmer levels (full=white, dim=yellow/orange, no color filter) Distribution: different types of theatrical instruments, throw distance from stage, angle to subject Movement: varying the other three qualities Conventional Lights Floodlights – backdrops, large areas Striplights – each color controlled separately, good for mixing Scoops Spotlights Fresnels – old, soft light Ellipsoidal reflector – common, many functions PARs (Parabolic Illuminized Reflector) – new, bright Intelligent Lights New, high-tech, expensive, controlled from boards Movers: concerts, “flash-trash lighting” Data flashes: strobes, lightening storm LED fixtures: similar to floodlights Data projector: light with video projector Sound All audible sensations required for the performance including voices Aural stimulus and detail 1 Create/change/sustain mood Emotional effect of music - upbeat vs suspense vs quietness vs conflict vs positivity 2 Underscoring Common in film and TV Reinforce characters and scenes Thematic reinforcement Less common in theatre 3 Elucidating the plot Help tell story/set the play Establish locale (birds chirping, city noise) Indicate action-sound effects (gunshot, car starting) Establish atmospheric conditions (thunder, train, wind) Indicate passage of time or time in history An additional character (voices on a radio, footsteps, scream) 4 Practical functions Audibility – reinforcement of existing sounds (microphones) Masking/confusing Framing/focusing Design Process Read the play  Discuss with director  Gather sounds  Sound plot  Set levels prior to first tech  Set cues during tech  Attend dresses  Opening night


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