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Stagecraft: Week 14

(November 30-December 4, 2020)

This week's unit is focused on: 


In our next unit in Stagecraft, we will be learning about THE PROCESS OF DESIGN.

Almost everything created for art or commercial use has gone through a design process.  However, many non-artistic people assume that artists simply have a "flash" of inspiration or "just come up with" ideas because they're creative.  While I wish that was true, that is RARELY the case.  Great ideas and inspiration are typically the culminating results of curiosity, research, and artistic collaboration.  

In our next unit, we're going to explore the design process by talking about one of the most important aspects of design in a show:  the set.  The set in a production can do FAR more than show location.  Since the scenery in stage shows (unlike most films) does not have to be LITERAL, the space in which the story is told can be FIGURATIVE, metaphorical, representational, abstract, poetic, and/or uniquely enhanced to get at the "heart" of the show's meaning or characters.  


For me, one of the most FUN aspects of deciding how to stage a play/musical (and its characters) is designing the set that will become the "world" in which the story is told.  This unit is focused on that process.

Do BEFORE Day 1 in-class learning:

1. Read all of the above (required).

2.  Watch:  Scenic Design video (above).  (You only need to watch 4:05-11:05.) 

Journal Title:  Scenic Design

What did you learn (or find interesting) about the PROCESS of scenic/set design?

3.  Watch:  KP Teaching Video  - Design Process & Literal vs. Figurative Design (5:00)

Journal Title:  Steps in the Design Process

1.) List the steps (in order) of the Design Process

2.) Which of the nine set designs shown in the video did you find most intriguing and why?  (You'll need to pause the video on your favorite to be able to analyze the design.)

4. Watch:  Designing a Set (3:35) 

Journal Title:  Process of Design

1.) What do you need to be a scenic designer?  (awareness of space...)

2.) What did the designer share is the PROCESS of designing a set?  (talk to...)

3.) What does the designer say "informs the character and what kind of person they are"? the ________

4.) What advice did she give to future designers?

Write this phrase:  "There's no such thing as an original idea - it's all an amalgamation of your ________." 

5.  Watch:  Designing Broadway: Tony Winner Bunny Christie (5:13)

Journal Title:  Research/Inspiration in Design (Curious Incident)

1.) What did this designer look at when she was "coming up" with ideas for her design?

2.) What "feel" did she want the scenic elements to have?

3.) What are the benefits of NOT thinking about sets on stage as literal realistic spaces?

Do BEFORE Day 2 in-class learning (you will share BOTH in class):

6. DoScenic Design Search  

1.) Go online and Google various scenic designs (for the stage).  Find ones that "move" you when you see them.  Try to pick out the elements in the photos/designs that you're drawn to and try to determine why you find the design(s) interesting.  Do you find yourself being drawn to more literal designs or more figurative / metaphorical / representational / abstract / poetic designs?  What do certain designs make you "feel"? 

2.) Once  you've found your "top 10" scenic design photos, put them in the Slideshow Assignment on Google Classroom (follow directions given).

Advice from Price:  How can/should you find "good" scenic design photos?

  • Just Google!  Image search with key words like "set design", "scenic design", "lighting design", etc.

  • If there's a show you're curious about or love, you could search by title of that show & "set/scenic design"

  • Have fun exploring!  


7.  Do:  Literal vs. Figurative Design - Designing...ME!

1.) Identify a space in your home that LITERALLY represents YOU.  Think in terms of "if a play was written about me", what is a space that might be included in the set that not only shows the setting, but also reflects things about ME as a "character".

2.)  Identify a space/object/environment in or around your home that FIGURATIVELY represents YOU.  Think of the CHARACTERISTICS that define WHO you are at your core or something deeper about you, and look for those elements in the physical world around you.  

3.)  Once you've found both LITERAL and FIGURATIVE representations of YOU, take photos of those spaces, and complete the assignment in Google Classroom:  Literal vs. Figurative:  Designing ME!

4.)  For an example (from Ms. Price's own life), click HERE.


  • You do NOT need to "show up" to class on your "off days", although we will be doing in-class activities for the live class sessions, which are meant to introduce and prepare you for your next project:  Designing a set. 

  • What will we be doing on in-class days?

    • Students will be exposed to several different musicals through an in-class activity in which we will analyze the mood and meaning of various musicals (by listening to musical numbers).

    • Students will choose a musical with which they want to work.

    • Students will begin script work (reading, analyzing, etc.) in order to begin the design process.

    • Students will choose 2 consecutive scenes (sets) from their chosen musical which they want to design.

    • Students will learn about the importance and creativity of transitions between musical sets (scene shifts).

    • Students will share #8-9 above (for a grade).

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