Lee Simonson, Theodore Komisarjevsky,
and The Tidings Brought to Mary
When American designer Lee Simonson and visiting Russian director Theodore Komisarjevsky presented The Tidings Brought to Mary at the Theatre Guild in December 1922, they reached an important landmark on the road to the neutral empty stages of playwright Thornton Wilder in the 1930s. The set and production concept was radical in its simplicity, combining the ideas of a permanent set and the bare stage as neutral space. One can look at the theory expressed in their writings and their earlier work as preparing them for the task of creating this boldly simplified production and opening the way for future endeavors in this aesthetic direction.
Simonson was the principal designer for the Washington Square Players and, when some of its founders retrenched to create the Theatre Guild, Simonson continued as a key player in the new enterprise. His bent toward essentials in stage design characterized his work with the Players and the Guild.
Like Jones, Simonson's first inspirations to simplify the stage can be traced to a trip to Europe in 1909, even though he had not yet designed a set. He saw
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: The Simple Stage:Its Origins in the Modern American Theater. Contributors: Arthur Feinsod - Author. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1992. Page number: 163.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.