Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Designing Sets Provides Opportunities to Learn Design

Schools have annual plays, concerts, and, today, even TV shows that provide opportunities for students to design sets, lighting, costumes, props, etc.

In the past, some art teachers felt designing sets for school productions was just extra work that didn't contribute much to their art curriculum. With the addition of design education to traditional school art programs, designing for stage, screen and television offers attractive possibilities for students.

Design students can be introduced to Production Design and Art Direction that includes working with set designers, costumers, makeup, lighting, and a variety of other design possibilities. Students can be involved in concept design, model making, and actual "dressing" of the set.

Wikipedia says that scenic design (also known as stage design, set design or production design) is the creation of theatrical, as well as film or television scenery. Scenic designers have traditionally come from a variety of artistic backgrounds, but nowadays, generally speaking, they are trained professional designers, often with degrees in theatre arts.

The 'stage picture' is the 'look' or physical appearance of the stage for a play, whether in rehearsal or performance. It reflects the way that the stage is composed artistically in regard to props, actors, shapes and colours. The stage picture should express good principles of design and use of space. It should be visually appealing for the audience or should express the show's concept.

The scenic designer is responsible for collaborating with the theatre director and other members of the production design team to create an environment for the production and then communicating the details of this environment to the technical director, production manager, charge scenic artist and propmaster. Scenic designers are responsible for creating scale models of the scenery, renderings, paint elevations and scale construction drawings as part of their communication with other production staff.

Notable scenic designers, past and present, include: David Gallo, Robert Brill, Tony Walton, Adolphe Appia, Boris Aronson, Howard Bay, Edward Gordon Craig, Luciano Damiani, Ezio Frigerio, Barry Kay, Sean Kenny, Ralph Koltai, Ming Cho Lee, Santo Loquasto, Jo Mielziner, Oliver Smith, Franco Colavecchia, Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, Josef Svoboda, George Tsypin, Robert Wilson, Franco Zeffirelli, Natalia Goncharova, Vadim Meller, Aleksandra Ekster, Nathan Altman, Maria Björnson, David Borovsky, Daniil Lider, Inigo Jones, Nicholas Georgiadis, Alexandre Benois, Francoise Cherry-Cohen, Léon Bakst, and Russell Patterson.

Click on the heading above to see videos about the costume design and set design for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.


Marina Miranda said...

I really like this post, because it shows how art and design are so important. I like how they tie school students with the scenic designer. They talk about how schools help the students when it comes to designing of sets, costumes, and props. They also showed how in the past, some art teachers felt designing sets for school productions was just extra work that didn't contribute much to their art curriculum, but now they see that this is a profession and how the scenic designer is important in this industry.
This was a great post!

JennaL said...

I enjoyed this post! It gave a look into the other side of stage design. When I think back to the few plays I've seen, I couldn't imagine they would have been half as good without the scenery. It created a different world for the viewers and it really allowed me to become more involved, rather than just listening to dialogue. Great job :)