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Art of Theatre Week 6 Notes

by: Janell Notetaker

Art of Theatre Week 6 Notes THEA 11000

Marketplace > Kent State University > Theatre and Dance > THEA 11000 > Art of Theatre Week 6 Notes
Janell Notetaker
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These are the notes for Week 6 Art of Theatre for all three Articulates
James A. Weaver
Class Notes
week, 6, Art, Of, theatre, Six, three, notes, The, Director, scenic, and, lighting
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This 9 page Class Notes was uploaded by Janell Notetaker on Thursday October 6, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to THEA 11000 at Kent State University taught by James A. Weaver in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 7 views. For similar materials see THE ART OF THE THEATRE in Theatre and Dance at Kent State University.

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Date Created: 10/06/16
SCENIC AND COSTUME WEEK 6      Theatre Design and Designers  Theatre designers and technicians contribute to the success of a production  In modern theatre, the design and its application to the stage are an integral  component of theatre making  Non­spoken language elements like: ­ Scenery  ­ Lighting ­ Costumes ­ Properties  ­ Makeup and sound  All tells a story just as spoken and written language would do      Different Areas of Theatre Design ­ Scenic Design ­ Costume Design ­ Lighting Design ­ Sound Design      Scenic Design  The scenic designers produce visual effects on the performing space      Objectives of Scenic Design  Creating an environment for the performers and for the performance  Helping to set the mood and style of the production  Establishing the locale and period in which the play takes place  Where appropriate, provide a central image or visual metaphor for the production      Environment: The World of the Play and Characters  The scenic designer reads the script to examine the world of the play including  characters and their surrounds  ­ How do they speak ­ How well do they move? ­ What kind of home or office or outdoor setting do they occupy? ­ What do they wear?   The scenic designer finds ways to visually manifest these elements of the play’s  environment      Environment   The actors and director can use the environment to heighten the comedic aspects  of the play  In Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple, the script calls for a realistic­looking New York apartment with many doors that slam and rooms that connect      Style & Mood  When deciding on mood/atmosphere and style, the designer needs to consider  the degree of realism for the production SCENIC AND COSTUME WEEK 6  Realism has been a predominant style since the turn of the twentieth century and  it is important for the scene designer to decide to what extent her or she should  incorporate it  A complete reduction of “reality” seems great in film but it should not always be  the goal of the theatre production  An example of non­realistic set design is seen above in a production of Alice in  Wonderland at Porthouse Theatre  The entire set was painted white  In an empty space with several doors on the upstage wall different locations are  represented by adding small set pieces and props      Location and Time Period  Whether realistic or nonrealistic, a stage set might tell the audience where and  when the play take place  The set designer has to ask: ­ Is the locale a saloon? ­ A bedroom?  ­ A palace?  The set could also indicate the time period      Ambiguity of Location and Time Period  It is also important to know that some non­realistic or absurdist plays like  “Waiting for Godot” consciously avoid suggesting the specific time period or  location      The Central Image or Metaphor   In many cases, a designer tries to convey the central image or metaphor   Central image or metaphor­ is an important part of the director’s concept   it should be inspired by the world and/ or theme of the play  In Mother Courage the central image is the wagon which Mother Courage pulls  throughout the play  The wagon contains commodities that Mother Courage sells to keep her family  alive during the Thirty Years’ War  The set designer would be responsible for creating a wagon which will work  onstage and which will embody the main theme and idea of the play      Costume Design   In theatre, costumes convey specific meanings just like clothes in everyday life  However, there are significant differences between the costumes of everyday life  and theatrical costumes       What do Costumes Tell Us About the Character?  Stage costumes communicate the same information as ordinary clothes with  regard to gender, status, and occupation  Onstage this information is magnified because every element in theatre is the  focus of attention SCENIC AND COSTUME WEEK 6      Objectives of Costume Design  Costume Design should: ­ Express the plays style ­ Convey time period and location ­ Show relationships among characters ­ Convey a character’s status and occupation ­ Express a character’s psychology or inner life ­ Be consistent with the production as a whole      Meeting Performers’ Needs  No matter how attractive or how symbolic, stage costumes work for the  performers, allowing them to do: ­ Quick changes ­ Specific character business ­ To move in both period and style ­ To engage in athletic activities such as combat or dancing      The Consistency   Costumes must be designed with careful consideration of the overall visual effect  of the production       Consistent with the Production as a Whole  Early in production meeting, the director and designers make the choice to  coordinate the color palate elements LIGHTING AND SOUND DESIGN WEEK 6      Different Areas of Theatre Design  Lighting   Sound Design      Lighting Design  Lighting can define: ­ A stage area ­ Create mood ­ Indicate changes of scene ­ Contribute many other effects to a theatre production      Lighting in the First 2000 Years  Theatre took place primarily outdoors during the daytime, for the first 2000 years      Lighting Design: Candles and Oil Lamps  Around 1600 theatre began to move indoors  Candles and oil lamps were used to brighten the stage      Lighting Design and Gaslights  In 1803, a theatre in London installed gaslights, allowing some control of  intensity and color      Lighting Design and Electric Lights  The era of imaginative lighting began when Thomas Edison invented the electric  light bulb in 1879      Lighting Design in Modern Ages  Incandescent lamps are safe and controllable   Brightness or intensity can be increased or decreased  The same lighting instrument could produce the bright light of noonday or the  dim light of dusk  Also by putting a colored film over the light, called a gel, color can be controlled      Objectives of Lighting Design  Objectives of Lighting Design include: ­Providing visibility  ­ Providing focus onstage and created visual compositions ­ Assisting in creating mood and reinforcing style ­ helping to establish time and place ­establishing rhythm of visual movement ­ reinforcing a central image or metaphor      Visibility   On the practical side, the chief function of lighting is visibility   The audience has to be able to see the performers’ faces and their actions onstage      Focus  By making one area of the stage dark and illuminating another, the lighting  subconsciously directs the audience’s attention to certain characters or events on  the stage LIGHTING AND SOUND DESIGN WEEK 6      Mood & Style  Lighting is especially useful in creating or changing the mood or atmosphere of  the play  Blue light might communicate romantic mood or eerie mood  A read light might represent the passion of the character  Lighting can also emphasize the production’s style  Ex­ lighting can be more imaginative, using a “shaft of light cutting through the  dark      Lighting Designer  The process of lighting design, like the process of all of the designers, involves  reading and analyzing the script  Then the lighting designer needs to meet with the director and other designers to  discuss ideas and the director’s concept  The lighting designer usually attends rehearsals to see the blocking that the  director and actors are creating and based on that, they will create a light “plot” or a chart designating the placement of the lighting instruments  Next they work with the crew to hang and focus the light  Finally, they write the “cues”  Cues­ or sequence of changes that will be used in the production      Sound Design  Throughout history, music and sound have played a major role in theatrical  productions from the Greeks to Shakespeare      Three Functions of Sound Design  Sound design “in recent years has become an increasingly important aspect of  theatre  It can be consolidated into three functions: ­ Sound reinforcement  ­ Sound effects ­ Creating or affecting the atmosphere or mood of the play      Amplification  A common, but sometimes controversial aspect of sound design is sound  reinforcement or amplification  Many people insist that using microphones is essential, especially in musical  theatre when the audience needs to hear the singing over the sound of a large  orchestra  Consider that many of the greatest American musicals of the 40s and 50s were all  produced without any sound amplification   Today electronic amplification is a way of life in theatre  Whether speech shall be amplified or should actors be appropriately trained to  project their voices in even the largest playhouses, is still in question LIGHTING AND SOUND DESIGN WEEK 6  Can a play really sound realistic if the sound all seems to be coming from the  direction of the person who is speaking?  These are questions that directors and designers have to consider and make  decisions together       Sound Effects Examples  In many plays, specific sound effects are demanded by the script: ­ Doorbells  ­ Ringing telephones ­ Clock chimes ­ Thunder ­ Rain ­ Dogs barking  ­ Birds chirping  CD’s and electronic resources exist, but often a sound designer will edit several  sound clips together to create just the right effect      Atmosphere & Mood  This brings us to the third and possibly the most effective function of sound:  influencing the atmosphere or mood of the play  Think about all your different iPod playlist—you want to listen to the kind of  music that fits the mood you’re in  The sound designer works the same way, considered the atmosphere that is right  for the play and supporting that with sound & music  The music might begin before the play with the “preshow”   It is often used in between scenes called “transitions”  Music can lead both into and out of “intermission” and may transition out of the  final scene of the play and into the “curtain call”  A subtle, but effective use of sound is underscoring  Underscoring­ when the music plays softly in the background while a character  is speaking  this is seen all the time in movies and on television      Similarities/Differences  In many ways, the sound designer works like the other designers   He or she reads the play and discusses his or her ideas with the director  One outstanding challenge lies in its invisibility   Because sound design is aural, not visual like the other disciplines, it can  sometimes be difficult to describe to the director or other designers       Review: The Six Elements of Design  In bringing her or his idea to fulfillment, all designers frequently make use of the  following elements: ­ Line ­ Mass and composition ­ Texture LIGHTING AND SOUND DESIGN WEEK 6 ­ Color ­ Rhythm  ­ Movement  Designers commonly use these elements in discussing design choices with the rest of the team and the director   They provide a common language to communicate artistic idea and they  “contribute to the overall experience.” THE DIRECTOR WEEK 6      The “First” Theatre Director: Georg II, Duke of Saxe­Meiningen  The Theatre Director is a very important person in the creative process of a  production  The contemporary concept of the “director” did not emerge until the nineteenth  century in Europe when the Duke of Sax­Meiningen took his company to various  cities, playing the roles of the director and producer      Actors Directing Themselves  Before Duke of Saxe­Meiningen, in European theatre, “star” actors used to direct  themselves   Most times the playwright would take on the role of the director      Duke Georg II of Saxe­Meiningen’s design for The Prince of Hamburg  Duke of Saxe­Meiningen is considered the model for modern theatre director  He paid attention to costumes, scenery, and props, eliminating the star system  He introduced extensive rehearsals      What does the Director Do?  A contemporary director may choose the script  Then the director needs to research the historical or cultural context of the play  The director needs to discover the spine of the play  Spine­could be called the main action For example, the spine of the play Hamlet could be revenge  The desire for revenge causes Hamlet’s inner conflicts as he eventually exposes the  political corruption in the kingdom  Then decides on the style of the production  Style­means the way a play is presented  If the director chooses realism, then she needs to consider variations of realism such  as naturalism, selective realism, and conventional realism  The director might choose non­realism as his/her style   For example, she/her may choose expressionism as her style  Expression became popular in the beginning of the twentieth century  Gives external expression to inner feelings  In Elmer Rice’s expressionists play The Adding Machine, the main character’s  feelings are conveyed by a “cacophony” of shrill sounds, such as loud sirens and  whistles   Whatever style is chosen for the production; it must be supported on a consistent  basis in “every part of the production.”  When developing a concept, a director might consider: ­ The period—in what time period should the play be set? ­ The location—where should the play be set?   The director is responsible for holding auditions and casting the actors THE DIRECTOR WEEK 6  After the actors are cast, the director works closely with them in rehearsal to guide  their work and provide them with their “blocking” or their positions and movements  on the stage  Before and during the rehearsal process, the director meets with the designers on a  regular basis  This is to make certain the all the separate pieces of the production will come together in a cohesive way      Different Spines  Directors may discover different “spines” for the same play  The iconic American director Harold Clurman said that “varied interpretations”  are acceptable as long as the spine “remains true to the spirit of the play.”      Spider Web as A Directional Concept  A director might create his or her concept using a central image or metaphor  An example, would be a production of Hamlet that envisioned Hamlet’s world as  a vast spider web  The motif of a spider web could be carried out on several levels: ­ In the design of the stage set ­ In the ways the performers relate to one another ­ In details relating to the central image


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