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My first exposure to scenographic design was a production of The Miser, directed by Ron Willis. Everything about the heavy, velvet costumes and tall, extravagent wigs - the steeply raked, round stage and irregularly stacked discs which served as steps to the main playing space - the constantly, yet subtlely changing lights transforming spattered muslin into “lace” and “marble” platforms into shiny coins - all elevated my experience of the production.
The designer was David Clark and it stays with me to this day. From that point on I have felt that scenography is a powerful and effective philosophy that fits securely alongside my belief that theatre is the consummate communication of living art.
A production concept may or may not follow the traditional or obvious. It may or may not begin detailed or complete. Scenography is a skill set that allows a designer to work with the director, technicians and other designers to fully develop a concept, vision or idea.
Once all has been explored, agreed upon and realized - paradigms can be shifted. New perspectives and unique solutions can lead to fresh ways of seeing and thinking for everyone involved in a production - including the audience.
For me, that is the magic of theatre.
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