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Stagecraft Week 13:  Scenic Design
(Intro to Scenic Design)
April 24-28, 2023

Important terms are in RED.

Google Classroom assignments are in BLUE.

Ms. Price provides ALL learning for absent students in a self-directed format. 

Just read & understand/complete each of the day's activities below.  You are EXPECTED to keep up with what's going on IN class.

DAY 1:  Intro to Scenic Design / How to Read a (Musical) Script

1.)  Discussed our next unit:  SCENIC DESIGN.  (If absent, read below...)

  • In our next unit in Stagecraft, we will be learning about THE PROCESS OF DESIGN and how to design something used on stage.  Specifically, we will be focusing on scenic (set) design

2.) Discussed the things you MUST have in place before ever beginning a rehearsal for a show:

  • Rights (written permission to do the show from the producing agency)

  • A rehearsal & performance space (often the theatre/performance space isn't used until the END of the process)

  • A Director / Cast (for musicals, you also need a vocal director, pit director, and choreographer)

  • A set design (because you can't rehearse without knowing what you will have in the space with you - the physical things in your space that support the storytelling and/or provide boundaries for the storytelling)

2.) Watched a video about the Process of Scenic Design and the difference of figurative vs. literal scenic design.  (started at 3:07 - if absent, be sure to watch 3:07-end for the learning we did in class today, OR watch full video if you missed yesterday's class also.)

3.)  Discussed next/final project:  Scenic (Set) Design Project.  Students will choose a musical to READ and your final Summative Stagecraft project will be to DESIGN A SET for that musical (more info to follow).  You can choose to work alone or with 1 or 2 partners.  (Groups can not be larger than 3.) 

4.)  Listened (in class) to the opening numbers from the musicals listed below.  Ms. Price led students in an activity to to determine what the music FEELS like, (even when there are no lyrics) and then students tried to determine the MEANING/STORY/THEME (from just the opening number's lyrics).  Students responded in Google Classroom (Assignment:  Intro to Musical Scenic Design)​​.  (If absent, you MUST do this activity/assignment on your own before next class, but you only need to respond to 5 of the musicals listed on the assignment.  It is recommended that you respond on your Google Classroom assignment WHILE listening to the musical numbers - since the musical mood may shift/change throughout).  Click the title of each musical below to hear the musical's first/opening song.

  • Once on this Island  (Setting: the French Antilles in the Caribbean Sea)   

  • Hunchback of Notre Dame - listen to at least 5:00  (Setting:  Paris, 1482)

  • Fiddler on the Roof  - listen to at least to 3:05 (Setting:  a Jewish Settlement in Imperial Russia around 1905)

  • Footloose  - listen to at least 5:07 (Setting:  the fictitious town of 'Bomont' in the early 1980's)

  • Little Shop of Horrors  (Setting: Skid Row in New York; early 1960's)

  • Blood Brothers - listen to 3:42  (Setting:  1960's England) - not an option this year

  • Matilda (Setting:  an English village, 1988)

  • Secret Garden (Setting:  1901 British-occupied India then Yorkshire England)

  • Phantom of the Opera (Setting:  a Paris Opera House, 1881)

*REMEMBER:  In musicals, the music (what it "feels like") ALWAYS impacts design choices.  You can not work on a musical without listening to the music that helps tell the story of the musical.

6. Chose a musical (from the above list) that you'd like to READ and DESIGN A SET for.  Indicate your choice on the bottom of your Intro to Musical (Scenic) Design Project assignment in Google Classroom.  (If absent, be sure to do this TODAY so that Ms. Price can make a copy of your script.)

DAY 2:  Literal vs. Figurative Design / Reading a Musical

1.  Reviewed the Process of Scenic Design (steps/stages).

3.) Learned about the various things that scenic designers must do when designing a set...

  • Discussed  All scenic (set) design begins with the SCRIPT.  

  • Discussed:  What information might a designer be looking for when reading a script?

  • Discussed:  How might the MUSIC of a musical affect design choices?

  • If absent, watch this video (0-3:07) on the Process of Scenic Design/Reading a Script

4.)  Received the ASSIGNMENT for your Summative Stagecraft Project (click HERE) and the RUBRIC (click HERE)(This will be the rubric for your FINAL set designs & presentation.)

3.) Received  your assigned musical script - hard copy.  (You were given either your first or second choice.  If you did not choose, Ms. Price chose for you.)

  • Footloose = 

  • Blood Brothers = 

  • Hunchback = 

  • Once on This Island =

  • Little Shop of Horrors  = 

  • The Secret Garden = 

  • Little Mermaid  = 

2. Read & Listen to chosen musical.  Highlight (on your script) anything that could affect scenic/set design - whether stated or implied.  This may include...

  • What is LISTED or DESCRIBED as being in the space (both stated & implied 

    • ​For example, if the script stated "Ursula emerges from a giant seashell" you would know that a giant sea shell is listed as needed AND that it would need to be big enough for an actress AND have a way of opening on stage.

  • Where the scene takes place (the stated setting)

  • When the scene takes place (the stated time period and/or stated or implied time of day/season)

  • How the space needs to be used 

    • ​​For example, if there is a large dance number in the scene, you need to take note of that, and provide the space for the choreography in your design.​

  • Any special effects or "magical moments" needed?

  • Meaning or Mood that should/could be supported with the set?

  • Transitions from one set to the next?

  • Note:  DO NOT HIGHLIGHT PROPS - only information that is needed for future SCENIC/SET design.


3.) Use the soundtracks below WHILE reading.  If you are working/designing a set as a group, then read the script together as a group as well.

  • Once on this Island (scriptSetting: the French Antilles in the Caribbean Sea
  • Hunchback of Notre Dame (script  (Setting:  Paris, 1482)

  • Fiddler on the Roof (script)  Setting:  a Jewish Settlement in Imperial Russia around 1905

  • Footloose (script)  (Setting:  the fictitious town of 'Bomont' in the early 1980's)

  • Little Shop of Horrors (scriptSetting: Skid Row in New York; early 1960's

  • Blood Brothers (script)  Setting:  1960's England

  • Secret Garden (Act I / Act II Setting:  1901 British Occupied India > Yorkshire England; Mary Lennox is orphaned after her parents perish from cholera (India) and she is sent to live at her uncle Lord Archibald Craven's mansion in England

  • Little Mermaid  (Script)  Setting:  An undersea world AND the human land above

4.) You will have 3 total classes to FINISH your ENTIRE script and highlight set needs. You will need ALL of that time, so please don't waste it.  Bring your script next class!

DAYS 3-4:  Reading a Script / Needs of the Script

1.) Continued  reading your assigned musical script AND highlighting your script for scenic NEEDS.

  • Highlight anything either stated or implied in the script that may impact what would NEED to be considered in the design of the set.

  • Remember, this information is not spelled out for you, so be a detective while reading.  

  • There are clues in the scene descriptions, the character dialog, the musical lyrics, and the stage directions/playwright's notes.


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