Design for the Stage: First Steps

By Darwin Reid Payne | Go to book overview
Costume 2--Construction
Costume 3--Accessories
Costume 4--Sources (catalogues)
Special Effects (fire, fog, rain, snow, etc.)
Photo 1--Set
Photo 2--Models
Photo 3--Costume
Photo 4--Miscellaneous
Stagecraft Procedures
Scene Painting Techniques
Stages and Auditoriums
Scene Designs (by other designers)
Scene Designer's Articles
Production Articles

§16 "Stage Design for the Epic Theatre: An Evaluation of Caspar Neher"

By Bertolt Brecht

We often begin rehearsing without any knowledge of the stage designs, and our friend merely prepares small sketches of the episodes to be played (for instance, six people grouped around a working-class woman, who is upbraiding them). Perhaps we then find that in the text there are only five people in all, for our friend is no pedant; but he shows the essential, and a sketch of this sort is always a small and delicate work of art. Whereabouts on the stage the woman is to sit, and her son and her guests, is something we find out for ourselves, and that is where our friend seats them when he comes to construct the set. Sometimes we get his designs beforehand, and then he helps us with groupings and gestures; not infrequently also with the differentiation of the characters and the way they speak. His set is steeped in the atmosphere of the play, and arouses the actor's ambition to take his place in it.

He reads plays in a masterly fashion. Take just one example. In Macbeth, Act I, scene vi, Duncan and his general Banquo, invited by Macbeth to his castle, praise the castle in the famous lines:

This quest of summer,
The temple-haunting martlet does approve,
By his loved mansionry, that the Heaven's breath
Smells wooingly here...

-128-

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