1st Edition

Theatre and Performance Design A Reader in Scenography

By Jane Collins, Andrew Nisbet Copyright 2010
    432 Pages
    by Routledge

    432 Pages
    by Routledge

    Theatre and Performance Design: A Reader in Scenography is an essential resource for those interested in the visual composition of performance and related scenographic practices.

    Theatre and performance studies, cultural theory, fine art, philosophy and the social sciences are brought together in one volume to examine the principle forces that inform understanding of theatre and performance design.

    The volume is organised thematically in five sections:

    • looking, the experience of seeing
    • space and place
    • the designer: the scenographic
    • bodies in space
    • making meaning

    This major collection of key writings provides a much needed critical and contextual framework for the analysis of theatre and performance design. By locating this study within the broader field of scenography – the term increasingly used to describe a more integrated reading of performance – this unique anthology recognises the role played by all the elements of production in the creation of meaning.

    Contributors include Josef Svoboda, Richard Foreman, Roland Barthes, Oscar Schlemmer, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Richard Schechner, Jonathan Crary, Elizabeth Wilson, Henri Lefebvre, Adolph Appia and Herbert Blau.

    PART I: Looking: the experience of seeing

    1 Appearance and reality BERTRAND RUSSELL

    2 The simile of the cave PLATO

    3 The draughtsman’s contract: how an artist creates an image JOHN WILLATS

    4 The camera obscura and its subject JONATHAN CRARY

    5 Meditations on a hobby horse or the roots of artistic form ERNST GOMBRICH

    6 From Camera Lucida ROLAND BARTHES

    7 The most concealed object HERBERT BLAU

    8 Fascination and obsession SUSAN BENNETT

    PART II: Space and place

    9 Of other spaces MICHEL FOUCAULT

    10 From The Production of Space HENRI LEFEBVRE

    11 For a hierarchy of means of expression on the stage ADOLPHE APPIA

    12 A taxonomy of spatial function GAY MCAULEY

    13 6 axioms for environmental theatre: axiom three RICHARD SCHECHNER

    14 Site-specifics NICK KAYE

    15 Dancing in the streets: the sensuous manifold as a concept for designing experience SCOTT PALMER AND SITA POPAT

    16 Grounding ANDREW TODD

    17 Towards an aesthetic of virtual reality GABRIELLA GIANNACHI

    18 The house. From cellar to garret. The significance of the hut GASTON BACHELARD

    19 Making and contesting time-spaces DOREEN MASSEY

    PART III: The designer: the scenographic

    20 Postmodern design 145


    21 "Oh, to make boardes to speak!" NICHOLAS TILL

    22 Stage designs of a single gesture: the early work of Robert Edmond Jones ARTHUR B. FEINSOD

    23 Foreword to The Stage is Set LEE SIMONSON

    24 Hope, hopelessness / presence, absence: scenographic innovation and the poetic spaces of Jo Mielziner, Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller LIAM DOONA

    25 Brecht and stage design: the Bühnenbildner and the Bühnenbauer CHRISTOPHER BAUGH

    26 The diseases of costume ROLAND BARTHES

    27 My idea of the theatre TADEUSZ KANTOR

    28 Visual composition, mostly RICHARD FOREMAN

    29 Defining and reconstructing theatre sound ADRIAN CURTIN

    30 On performance writing TIM ETCHELLS

    PART IV: Bodies in space 231

    31 Docile bodies MICHEL FOUCAULT

    32 Eye and mind MAURICE MERLEAU-PONTY

    33 Of language and the flesh THOMAS LAQUEUR

    34 From Adorned in Dreams ELIZABETH WILSON

    35 The actor and the über-marionette EDWARD GORDON CRAIG

    36 Man and art figure OSKAR SCHLEMMER

    37 From Towards a Poor Theatre JERZY GROTOWSKI

    38 Woman, man, dog, tree: two decades of intimate and monumental bodies in Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater GABRIELLE CODY

    39 The will to evolve JANE GOODALL

    40 Glow: an interview with Gideon Obarzanek CRISTIANE BOUGER

    PART V: Making meaning

    41 The work of art in the age of its technological reproducibility: second version WALTER BENJAMIN

    42 Interaction between text and reader WOLFGANG ISER

    43 Semiotics LOIS TYSON

    44 Limits of analysis, limits of theory and Pavis's questionnaire PATRICE PAVIS

    45 Sound design: the scenography of engagement and distraction ROSS BROWN

    46 Olfactory performances SALLY BANES

    47 The naturalistic theatre and the Theatre of Mood VSEVOLOD MEYERHOLD

    48 Theatre and cruelty ANTONIN ARTAUD

    49 The humanist theatre/The catastrophic theatre and The cult of accessibility and the Theatre of Obscurity HOWARD BARKER

    50 Drawing in rehearsal RAE SMITH

    51 Speech introducing Freud ROBERT WILSON

    52 From The Secret of Theatrical Space JOSEF SVOBODA



    Jane Collins is Reader in Theatre and Wimbledon College of Art, London, where she currently co-ordinates the contextual studies programme. She is a writer, director and theatre-maker, who works across the UK and internationally.

    Andrew Nisbet is a lecturer at Northbrook College, Sussex, teaching theatre practice and theory. He has worked in conference, exhibition, event and temporary structure design and museum installations.

    ‘Designed as a resource for those interested in the visual aspects of performance, this extensive collection of key writings provides an invaluable and often inspiring springboard for students, teachers, and practitioners across the spectrum of performance roles and contexts. The selection of material, which adopts an acknowledged western perspective, draws on performance fields ranging from some familiar established names such as Craig and Appia to commissioned new essays from contemporary practitioners. Importantly, the more recent examples include those focusing on lighting and sound within the performance event, embedding the view of scenography as encompassing the whole creative event... By offering a wider context for creating and examining performance design, this volume succeeds in inviting all those interested into a vibrant discussion.’  –Andrew Wood, New Theatre Quarterly

    ‘…in this fabulous reader Jane Collins and Andrew Nisbet have collected a fascinating range of existing and newly commissioned contributions that explore and expand our understanding of scenography in theatre and performance. A reader of this kind has long been missing and therefore warrants celebration.' – Paul Monaghan, Australasian Drama Studies