Scenery Design for the Amateur Stage

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

CHAPTER VII
The Element of Line

A LINE IS A MADE THING. THERE IS REALLY NO SUCH thing in nature; man uses lines as a descriptive convention for the purposes of communication. We see, that is, in terms of tone and color areas, not in terms of lines. Lines are merely the boundaries between these areas as they strike the eye. A line is the outer description of a form, area, or direction of indicated movement. This definition has to do with the delineation of realistic forms only; and the capacity of line to delineate realistic forms is the first and most apparent use of line.


THE EXPRESSIVE QUALITY OF LINE

Lines, however, are also used to express emotion--that is, to define a realistic form of nature but at the same time to emphasize some quality of it in order to stimulate a particular mood, character, or feeling. It is this second capacity of line--to be expressive--that will be most useful in designing scenery. Although certain types of design or certain types of sets may reveal a more obvious emphasis on the lines used in them than will be apparent in certain other sets, one must remember that every stage setting involves the use of line to some degree or other. Even in a drapery set, for example, there is a repetition of soft-edged, vertical lines which occur where the draperies fall into folds. And, regardless of what kinds of lines are used, it is inevitable that they will duplicate lines from nature with which the spectator is familiar and with which he associates past experience. This recognition of the familiar accounts for the fact

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