Designing Stages, Designing Stories – Set Design

Jenny’s Drama Class Reflection

Is Floor always flat? Do not think the stage, or floor is always flat. The stage will have rake, slope or round places because it creates interesting perspective. It might have a sunken area also.

The cost of Living is 35 minutes physical theatre filmed by DV8 Film directed by Lloyd Newson.DV8 is the british Physical theatre founded in 1986 and breaks the boundaries between drama, dance, film and human body. The director, Lloyd Newson directly describes the social issues about humans’ emotion, interaction and life. Since he was majoring in Psychology, he shows his interest in human issues by merging psychological, social and political perspective. This was filmed in 2000. The short film seems to represent friendship, desire to love, and human life. Rather choosing to do the typical choreography, he presents gesture from ordinary life –such as habitual gesture and cultural gesture – reorganize the performance dramatically. Also It was unique to see the performer with physical disorder- he performs in his way and it looks fabulous and makes him stand out. But what I want to highlight is the performance from 20:00 to 21:00. This is the example of sunken area, I guess. Instead of telling the end of the performance, the performers gradually disappear from the screen climbing down to the sunken area.

Ergo, the stage tells many thing- even the things that the performer can’t tell

Set design, also known as scenography, scenic design, set design or production design is the creation of theatrical, as well as film or television scenery. Scenic designers design sets and scenery that aim to fully immerse the audience in the production.

So to speak , Set designer is the hidden contributor in the drama, television and movie. The audience are not really focusing on sets, rather, they follows the story led by actors. Even though there’s no set design supporting the production, the actors are still be able to act. With the support of set designer, however, the performance can synergize its power of delivery and enable audience to watch more specific story.
Here’s a link that has a list of famous set designers in alphabetical order
One of the prominent set designer is Robert Wilson, who’s a theater artist second to none in a theater stage directing field.

The pictures below are the examples of his set designs

peterrepertoire_b2d71e764899d34c6f4c160d2072a89d peter-pan-coco-rosie
Let us suppose that there’s any background behind. The audience will not be drawn in the performance anymore.
Pina bausch(1940-2009) is a german dancer and choreographer who covered stages in mud, water, and hundreds of flowers. She was a contemporary dancer and also uses her stage in a effective way. Her performance certainly contains scenographic strategies like flowers, water and mud as I mentioned above.
(Her biography: click her name )
With the support of set design, the actors travel on stage by making lines and curves tells stories and send a message to audience. While researching it, I imagined the stage that I’m a solo performer with a fabulous set design. Hope Dream comes true!
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