Scenery Design for the Amateur Stage

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

CHAPTER I
The Demands of a Script

DESIGNING SETTINGS FOR THE AMATEUR PRODUCTION is regarded by those who do it with various emotions. There is, on the one hand, the creative glow of the fellow who feels that stage design is the most artistic force in the theater and has to do only with divine inspiration. At the other extreme is the resigned weariness of the poor, harassed producer--or director, more likely--who finally gets a motley crew of dubious workers together the week before the performance and says, "Now, folks, it just has to be done; we've got to have a set for this show if it takes us all week to do it!" As always, of course, the truth actually falls somewhere between these two attitudes. Designing the set is a creative endeavor that may call for a large amount of inspired imagination. It also calls for a hard, practical head that can calculate to the finest detail the problems and labors of translating the design into a workable set on the stage. Artistically speaking, scenery design is limited only by the individual's imagination; practically speaking, scenery design is limited by dozens of problems which must be solved before or during the process of the designing if real agony for the cast, crews, director, and even the audience is to be avoided later.

To put it bluntly, the designer must be guided by the script, must be subservient to the demands--or whims--of the director, must be be prepared to be circumvented constantly by the inadequacies of the average amateur stage and its limited equipment, must keep within the production plan as a whole, must be conscious always of what an audience expects from the setting, and, finally, must be able to

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