Scenery Design for the Amateur Stage

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

CHAPTER III
The Demands of a Stage

A DESIGNER MAY IGNORE THE AUTHOR OR, WHEN necessity demands, even cut or rewrite some of the script; he may, likewise, use persuasion on the director to make him alter his point of view; but, although he may apply a few old tricks to camouflage the truth, by and large he can do very little to change the basic plan of the stage he works with. Size of playing space can always be literally reduced, of course, but it can never be actually increased; and, since most amateur stages fall short in the matter of enough space, the designer has to get around the problem in the best way he can.

Because stage space and equipment are often determining factors in the selection of a play for production, the designer is frequently happily spared the agony of putting Cyrano de Bergerac on a fifteen by twelve stage with no flies or wings. But, all too often, the troupe are so insistent upon trying their hand at, for example, Shakespeare, that they announce a production of Macbeth in spite of their fears and leave the mess for the designer to figure out. And, what is more, they are usually entirely right! If they are going to grow and to help the audience grow in theatrical experience, they cannot stick to plays with one modern set and casts of eight or less; they must delve into the world's great plays and hope to be honored for doing the best they can under their circumstances. The burden of making such an ambitious program possible often rests with the designer--and, we hasten to add, so does a great deal of the credit for achievement if the dream comes true.

-49-

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