Producing the Play

Producing the Play

Producing the Play

Producing the Play

Excerpt

Indisputably play production is an art, and all its aspects can be subjected to the principles of esthetics--that is, the esthetic principles one happens to consider valid. Since the advent of Adolphe Appia and Gordon Craig, it has been a truism that the entire production, all elements collaborating to the full extent, must be unified in spirit and mood, thus comprising one comprehensive design. Although this approach to play production has led some of its proponents to attenuated speculations and to romantic mysticism (as may be seen in many of Craig's manifestoes), the basic idea is sound. The theatre is a composite art, and its various elements--the actor, the settings, the costumes, and so on--must serve together, not separately. In the art of modern lighting, moreover, we have a means of blending the sets, costumes, and actors. As Adolphe Appia noted, there are four elements to be combined in a production: the perpendicular scenery, the horizontal floor, the moving actor, and the lighted space that contains them. The director in the modern theatre is the designer of the entire production. He integrates these four elements and relates them to his basic conception of the meaning and mood of the play, as well as to the style of production that seems to him most appropriate to the play.

Esthetics in the Theatre

Beyond this fundamental principle of integration, lie the morasses of theory--dubiously conceived ideas of the importance of maintaining "esthetic distance," the desirability of giving theatre the elusive expressiveness of music, the primacy of the "laws" of design, the subjugation of the living actor to a production pattern, and above all the subordination of production to formal beauty. This book, however, pleads exemption from the alleged necessity of erecting or following any . . .

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