The Stage in Action

The Stage in Action

The Stage in Action

The Stage in Action

Excerpt

The first title selected for this book was Design in the Dramatic Performance. Several experienced people to whom the name was submitted replied that it was misleading. The word "design," as applied to the theatre, they declared, connotes one thing only, the visual background. "Stage design" is the art of planning scenery, lighting, and costumes--the environment of action, not the action itself.

The critics were right, of course. That their answer should have admitted no argument is regrettable. Apparently without any protest, the actors and directors in this country have allowed their technical colleagues to usurp for their exclusive use a word which should be applicable to every creative department of the theatre. Design is defined by the dictionary as "the arrangement of details which make up a work of art." We speak of the design of a poem, of a novel, of a piece of sculpture, of a building. With reference to the stage, we speak of the design of a setting, properties, costumes, lighting. Yet, when we refer to the sensitive and logical arrangement of vocal and pantomimic action into an effective dramatic performance, we hesitate to use the term "design." Why?

The reason lies doubtless in the fact that today most . . .

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