Scenery Design for the Amateur Stage

By Willard J. Friederich; John H. Fraser | Go to book overview

Preface

THIS BOOK CAME ABOUT FOR SEVERAL REASONS. FIRST was the realization that apparently many plays on the amateur stage are badly set. Lack of equipment and money, of course, explain many inadequate settings but not all. Many result from the plain lack of knowing how.

Second was the realization that most amateurs can and do learn readily enough the techniques of building scenery, but that most of them do not as readily learn how to design what they must build. The reasons are several: lack of teaching in this particular phase of production; lack of textbooks and specific guidance in the field; and, above all, lack of practical experience, through which the student picks up a good deal of what he knows about scenery execution.

It is certainly true that great designers are very rare and that this book or any other, however diligently studied, cannot produce one. It is also true, however, that the art of producing more than adequate designs for amateur productions can be taught to most students, because much of the regular process of scenery design is based upon observation, common sense, research, systematic planning, and a series of fairly constant rules of art and play production which any intelligent student can learn through study and practical application. The technical rendering of designs, too, frightens many who say they cannot draw or paint and, therefore, cannot design settings. But most of the routine techniques necessary to render designs can be learned by a persevering student, at least well enough to put his ideas across; and in design the ideas themselves and their ultimate translation into a stage set are far more important than their flawless rendering on paper.

-v-

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