10:00am M - W - F
We will be exploring the art and craft of Scenic Design in this course. We will examine it as an element of the composite art of theatre. While scene design shares the elements of line, form, mass, value, and color with other easel, architectural, and sculptural arts, much is different. The stage designer is never faced with a blank canvas. Usually he has a script, a playing space, a budget, time restrictions, labor constraints, and a group of collaborative artists including a director to help channel his efforts.
There will be little lecture in this course. Most classes will be spent drafting, painting, and/or model building. Consequently, you'll need to attend, have your supplies and equipment, and be working. If you don't have your equipment and/or supplies and are not working – you'll be asked to leave and counted absent for the day. The question should never be, "What do I have to do?" It should be, "Oh goodness! How much time do I have left?"
A good deal of reading and work is required outside of the class hours. We will begin with the principles of design and the functions of scene design, move through problem solving and into four design projects. Around mid-semester, we well each report on one of the designers in the text, going well beyond the text-provided material. Perhaps a powerpoint presentation would be in order.
The projects consist of:
1. Oedipus the King – Sophocles – Single formal set. For this project we will study the script, research and collect imagery from the time period, creating a 3/8" scale ground plan and a 1/8" scale model, placing the show on our main stage.
2. The Playboy of the Western World – Synge – Single box interior for which we will create a 3/8" scale ground plan and a ½" scale model, again placing it on our stage.
3. Your Choice – Multiscene show. CAD drawings, complete to build and renderings for each scene.
Each of these designs will be included in showings in the foyer of the
Fine Arts Building. Each sketch or model will need to be complete, labeled, and presentable. This collection could well comprise your table at URTA auditions! The first will include a concept statement, and a 1/8" scale model. The next two do not demand a model. The final project will include sketches and/or model(s) and thorough draftings necessary to build and paint in addition to those items listed above.
Three or four grades will be earned for each of the three major projects, at 20% per project. Missing a deadline merits no credit. Could we hold a curtain to finish a set? No! Additionally there will be several quizzes on the chapters in the text, for 20% and a final comprehensive exam earning the last 20%.
Scene Design Equipment and Materials
30/60 triangle – 18" (or large as can be found)
Architect's scale rule (be careful – not metric!)
Bow compass (school version will suffice)
Drafting pencils (#4, H, 2H are good to start)
Sketching pencils (#2 and softer)
Soft white or pink eraser
Erasing shield (with row of holes is best)
Dry cleaning pad or shaker (can be shared)
Drafting brush (can be shared)
Drafting or masking tape or dots (can be shared)
Set of French curves
Drafting paper – I'll provide plotter, but not 81/2 x 11 printer paper.
Watercolors, Guache, or acrylics
Brushes #6 or #8 round for a start
White school glue - Hobby Lobby's "Tacky glue" is good and cheap.
Exacto knife and lots of blades
Cold press illustration board
Since you'll need most of this equipment most days, I'd strongly suggest you clear and claim a locker in the scenic studio and put a padlock on it. People will borrow your stuff and they don't always get it back. Avoid all the weeping and gnashing of teeth!
Other handy items:
Templates of almost everything but especially
Circles, Ellipses, Squares, Furniture,
Electric pencil sharpener
Tube – drafting carrier
Old books – on drafting, architecture, furniture, interiors, exteriors,
This is the plan and, while things may come up necessitating changes, we'll try to stick with it and get you out of here with four decent projects in your design portfolio. This is the work that may well gain you entrance to a graduate program or into an employment situation. A student appearing before the Readmission Committee, trying to get back into school early after a suspension said he, "couldn't wait to get through with this stuff and on with his life." Well, this is your life! It's challenging. It's work. If done well, it's incredibly satisfying, and it doesn't get much better until someone is paying you a sizable chunk of money for it.
"A stage designer is, in a very real sense, a jack-of-all-trades. They can make blueprints and murals and patterns and light plots. He can design fireplaces and bodices and bridges and wigs. She understands architecture, but is not an architect,... he or she can paint a portrait, but is not a painter: creates costumes,
but is not a couturier. Although we are able to call upon any or all of these varied gifts at will, we are not concerned with any one of them to the exclusion of the
others, nor interested in any one of them for its own sake. These talents are only the tools of our trade... the designer in the theatre is "an artist of occasions." R.E. Jones.