Theatre Design

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Theatre Design

Postby Barry » Fri Mar 21, 2014 10:00 pm

Hmm, a thought. We finished the run of Hitchcock blonde last week, and I have to say it was a fine looking show. As we were in a small studio space, I couldn't even begin to attempt the enormous range of complex scenic effects suggested in the script, and so I didn't, but I needed a strong scenic image or metaphor to bring together the three different, but parallel stories together. They were all about middle aged men with their obsessions potentially damaging three younger blondes, and all linked by Hitchcock. It took me a while to find a visual way in, and as I try to do with all my work, I like to find a single strong image, and then play with variations of that. Suddenly I saw the play was all about showers, especially the Psycho shower scene. Brilliant. A shower space with opaque curtain where people could come and go, could hide behind, could be glimpsed, could tease the audience with flesh or violence, could suggest a cinema screen, could make dramatic entrances, could reference the famous Hitchcock silhouette - suddenly it all made sense, and if I set it backstage on the sound stage shooting Psycho the artifice gave me license to create rough magic than be literal. Oh I hate the literal. And so there was a central fluid space, with room at the side for the cast to watch, and then in effect a mini central pros arch, or a screened off area where things could change, of things be presented, or be revealed or hidden, or where grand entrances could be made. All perfectly symmetrical with graphic images on the walls suggesting more about the theme and characters. It suddenly occurred to me that every set design I have done, theatre and some film, has been based on this arrangement - the semi circle with cast or audience watching the action, the central area with curtained off area, and the symmetry. And it's worked, but then it further occurred to me that this was exactly the arrangement the Greeks had and then Shakespeare with the Globe. It's simplicity and its throwing of the focus onto the actors, and a fluid space never fail to work. Well I like a consistency in my work. Just thought I'd share that. Yes I like symmetry but that's also born out of a fear of even just one person having less of a good view than someone else.
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