Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Latest from the more-and-more up-coming Alice Through the Proscenium, "Design Methods" chapter:

Bubble Diagrams – This helps work out the practical lay-out.  Balloon shapes represent functional areas (Drawing Room and Conservatory, maybe, or Stage and Scene Shop).  Between bubbles you draw arrows representing desired movement or interaction.  A variation on this is to cut out paper rectangles for areas (in scaled sizes like tiny Broom Closet and huge Ballroom). Push paper “rooms” around like furniture until their relationship makes sense.

 Analysis – Related to Bubble Diagrams, this sketch is a sort of thinking-out-loud scribble of everything that affects the design: locations of shop, wings, and entries; traffic flow arrows; bubble diagrams; subdivisions of the stage; sightlines; notes; thumbnail sketches; doodles… anything that crosses your mind as you read the script and study the stage. 

                        “Of course the first thing to do was to make a grand survey of the country she was to travel through.” 

Generally you let this play out in your head or, if you do jot down anything, it’s incoherent. 4.12  So why turn this into a pretty sketch?  Well… the Analysis can be a useful reminder.  And it’s so useful in talking with a new director or a no-design-direction-till-I-give-thee-one sort of director that, well, ahem, it’s actually possible to create this sketch after you’ve come up with a scheme you want to sell. 4.13  

4.12 John Steinbeck said he only once tried to use a scribbled “idea” note for his writing; he found it rubber-banded to a ketchup bottle… but the ketchup made it unreadable.
4.13   Ideally you talk with the director before you even start thinking about designing the show.

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