Theory and Craft of the Scenographic Model

Theory and Craft of the Scenographic Model

Theory and Craft of the Scenographic Model

Theory and Craft of the Scenographic Model


Through diagrams, sketches, and models, along with explications of the essential tools and materials required, Payne defines and delineates the precise step-by-step procedures of scenographic modelmaking: the basic preparations of construction, the process of making the model, and the experimental aspects of modelmaking. This new edition with 50 additional illustrations and other new information offers teachers, students, and beginning professionals alike a complete and comprehensive approach to creating and constructing the scenographic model.


This book is the second in a series of texts dealing with the art and craft of scenography. the earlier work, Design for the Stage:
First Steps
, and the subsequent revision of that text, The Scenographic Imagination, deal only with the conceptual basis of the scenographer's art; there the student is introduced to many of the principles and differing philosophies which underlie and inform the practice of scenography. the present work, while it cannot help but touch on theory and philosophy of scenic art, does not go deeply into esthetic matters. It is more concerned with the practicalities of scenic craftsmanship and in particular with the preparation of one of the scenographer's most helpful presentations, the scenographic model. But although this book is more or less limited to this one aspect of the scenographer's work, the tacit assumption will be that the principles of The Scenographic Imagination have been studied and absorbed and that the artistic directions suggested there will actively further all the techniques and skills the scenographer needs in the practice of his profession. Most importantly, he must constantly keep in mind that when art and craftsmanship are separated, not much remains of either one. and while other areas of scenic craftsmanship are barely touched on in this book, the need for their mastery by the student is patently assumed. It will not take long for the serious student to discover, however, that while texts are helpful in his education, they are only useful to the extent that they promote an active desire to experiment outside and beyond the guidelines set down here.

Modelmaking in general is an ancient and very human activity. It has been throughout the entire history of human endeavor central to the development of creative ideas. Horace Freeland Judson, in The Search For Solutions, correctly observes:

A model is a rehearsal for reality, a way of making a trial that minimizes the penalties for error. Playing with a model, a child can practice being in the world. Building a model, a scientist can reduce an object, a system, or a theory to a manageable form.

. . . modeling, however serious, enshrines an element of play. Watching a child, one turns that observation the other way around: for the child, absorbed in play, modeling has an essential aspect of seriousness--it's a way of grasping the way things are. For the scientist or engineer, conversely, the seriousness of modeling retains something of the youthful delight. Scientists are incessantly saying to each other "let's play around with that"--and modeling is the quintessential way of playing with the way things might work and might be. . . . Curiously, model-building can also be a way to create a theory. . . . The performance of objects. the behavior of elaborate systems. a kind of theory-making. Modeling performs at these three levels. (Italics mine)

The making of scale scenographic models is certainly not a new development in the theater. the scenographic model has been in existence as long as scenery itself; Leonardo da Vinci made scale working . . .

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