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Week 5

(May 18-22, 2020)

In this Stagecraft unit, we are learning about THE PROCESS OF DESIGN.

So far we've discussed that most design starts with defining what something should "feel" like (or how we want the audience to "feel").  However, all things that are designed in the world MUST also satisfy certain NEEDS.  Consider "needs" and "feelings" as the yin and the yang of design. They help the design to remain balanced - purposeful yet artistic. (In the 'real world', you may have heard the phrase "form vs. function".  Theatre demands BOTH.)

When designing for the stage, designers MUST FIRST determine the NEEDS of the script.  In other words, what does the SCRIPT define as what's NEEDED for the telling of the story, location, characters, time of day/year, theme, etc.

In theatrical design, there is NO shortcut for this step.  All designers (set, costume, props, make-up, hair, lighting, sound, etc.) MUST carefully read the script in its entirety, taking notes about all the information in the script that could impact the design.  Sometimes the needs of the script are stated (ex:  in a playwright notes about setting), and sometimes the needs are implied (ex: in a character's line or lyric).  Ultimately, designers are "clue-finders" when reading scripts, locating all the "needs" before beginning their designs.

Once a designer has determined all of the script's NEEDS, (s)he often speaks with the director. This, too, is a "need" when designing because it is the director who has created an overall "vision" for the his/her telling of the story.

Finally, a designer begins the next phase of design:  RESEARCH.  Research isn't necessarily the boring type of research you do in High School.  Think of research, instead, as a scavenger hunt.  It's a "gathering process" where one piece of information/inspiration leads to another, until you eventually arrive at a "finish line" (which for a designer is ironically the "starting point" for your overall DESIGN CONCEPT). 

This week's unit is focused on...  



1.  Watch:  Designing Theatre: The Comedy of Errors (4:41)

Journal:  Scenic Design (Comedy of Errors)

1.) What does the designer do when she FIRST reads a script?

2.)  What does she do after that? 

3.) What are some feeling/mood/style words given that guided her design?

2.  Read ALL Information written above (if you haven't already) for this unit.

3.  Watch:  KP Teaching Video:  Research in Design (5:00) 

Journal:  Research in Design

1. Take notes on how/what could be researched when designing a set.

2. What set designs shown intrigued you?

4. Watch:  Tony Nominee Tobin Ost Discusses the Set Design of "Newsies" (4:42) 

Journal:  Scenic Design (Newsies)

1.)  What NEEDS of the script/action did the set design of Newsies satisfy?

2.)  What RESEARCH did the designers do to make the design historically accurate?

3.) What was the "STARTING POINT" that inspired the rest of the design?

5.  Watch:  Mary Poppins -  Creating Mary's World  (4:44)

Journal:  Scenic Design (Mary Poppins)

1.) What were some of the NEEDS of the script?

2.) From where did the designer find INSPIRATION for the design?  (both the original design and the touring show's design)

3.) How did the design handle transitions?

6.  Watch:  KP Teaching Video:  Ideas, Inspiration, Transition (5:00)

Journal:  Ideas, Inspiration, Transition

1.) Write about one thing you learned from this video.

2.) Try to list at least 5-10 things (your OWN ideas) you could "research" for your design project described below.  (What could you research that is connected to your chosen "feeling word"?  Think outside the box.)

9. READ/DO(Re-)Designing a Space 

Since you can't design a set for a chosen musical (which is the final project we normally do in Stagecraft), you are instead going to re-design a space in your own home.  Don't worry...I'm not going to make you actually DO the design.  Instead, we're going to focus on the DESIGN PROCESS and ideas, while walking through each step of design together as we would if we were in class.  The goal is to learn to think/create more like an artist/designer, and to see artistic possibility in a space with which you're already familiar.   Hopefully, you will have some fun with the project as well!  :) 


First Steps for this project (do steps 1-5 before Friday):

Journal (respond to the following in your journal):  My Final (Re-)Design Project

  1. Choose an area or room of your home (or outdoor space) to "work with". 

  2. Determine a FEEL you'd like to "play with" for your chosen space. This "feeling word" should NOT be one that would result in realistic design choices.  (Yes, some sets are very realistic, but so is your we're going to push our brains to think more abstractly.)  

  • Example:  ​DON'T choose a feeling word like "cozy", because that points to realistic design.

  • Be sure your "feeling" word lends itself to non-realistic, abstract, or metaphorical interpretations.

  • Examples (try to come up with your own if you can):  fantasy-like, foreboding, gritty, anxiety-enducing, pressurized, unforgiving, mystical, dreamy, futuristic, etc.  

  • You do NOT need to have a clue where your chosen word will lead you in design.  It's far better if you don't.  That way you can have fun with the process.  :)

3. Once you've chosen a feeling word (which typically a set designer would get from their own interpretation of the SCRIPT), you should consider the NEEDS of the room you're re-designing.​

  • Example:  If it's a bedroom, maybe it needs a chest of drawers; if it's a dining space, maybe it needs a place to eat; if it's a garage, maybe it needs storage; if it's an outdoor space, maybe it needs a gathering space or fire element)​

  • List all of the NEEDS of that space.  If you're unsure, ask a family member.  Be sure you've considered ALL the ways that space needs to function.

 4.  Research

  • Spend some time "researching" ideas that come to mind when you think about your feeling word and your space.  While "researching" do you notice any repeated images, colors, shapes, patterns, or elements?  Have you found images that inspire you?  ​Is there a place or time in history or present that has emulated that same "feel" - could you research that?  (Don't focus on an "end product" while researching - just focus on exploring.  Remember to think of this step like a scavenger hunt!  Collect your images/research that inspires your OWN design elements in the slideshow provided in Google Classroom.

5.  Collaborate!​

  • Be prepared to share 1.) your chosen room/space, 2.) your chosen "feeling word", and 3.) your needs/research at Friday's Zoom class​, where we'll all collaborate in order to get to even more interesting ideas.

For This Week's Zoom Class: 

  • Come prepared to discuss the above learning experiences.

  • Be sure you're prepared to describe your choices for:  room/space, "feeling word", needs

  • Zoom access code is on Haiku

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