Practical Exploration about Robert Wilson’s Work

Today I had a practical exploration of my chosen director Robert Wilson. I first encountered him in Grade 10, and have personal admiration toward his oeuvre as a theatre student. As I am keen to practice his signature of manipulating light to create an interesting scenography, I started off my exploration by watching the past productions and gathering sources of inspiration.

I visited Robert Wilson’s official website ( to know his praxis of theatre in depth. Using the images collected from his past and current productions as a source of artistic inspiration, I attempted to imitate his use of light.



First challenge was that mine should be a low-budget production, whereas Robert Wilson employs a wide range of stage effects and props which seem to require a high amount of budget. I sought alternatives and decided to use projectors to create a similar effect.

My initial plan was cutting color papers into a certain shape and cover the projector (or light) so that what appears on the wall is only the uncovered part of the paper like the image.

Once I start practical working, I realized that it is infeasible to cover the projector or light with paper because the paper is likely to melt due to the heat emitting from the machines. Instead, I thought I can create digital images and diagrams to create the effects that I was looking for. I used Keynote and its animation effect to create a moving square, diagonal lines, and other geometric shapes.



I am amazed by the result of my first exploration – it was much better than I had expected !!! I also received feedback from my peers that my experiment well demonstrated Robert Wilson’s theatrical aspect. (Still, I have to coordinate with my backstage crew, in order to sync with the animation such as moving yellow square) Now I also have to consider whether my performance will rely solely on lighting effect or whether I will use props to add interest to the performance. I am inclined to use few props in order to add variety to the show, but I will keep it as minimal as I can so that the props are not distracting the lighting effect or my acting.

I came up with a brief idea of the content as well. As most of Robert Wilson’s plays are adaptations of epic stories, such as Shakespeare’s tragedies and Odyssey, I will look for mythical legend of my hometown Jeju (e.g. the goddess of Jeju). I would also like to connect the myth with my personal story in order to make the performance more engaging. Using an oreum (small mountains on Jeju island) and the lone tree as my motifs, I want to make an imaginative, fantastical show through which I can express my identity and exercise the theatrical aspect of Robert Wilson.




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