Spring SAVY 2017, Day 1- Designing Shakespeare
Dear Designing Shakespeare Students:
Thank you for our first session! It was a pleasure to spend Saturday morning with such a mix of new friends and familiar faces, and I enjoyed learning about each and every one of you: whether it be your nearly-unanimous love for books, your large menagerie of pets, or your apparent need for me to study-up on contemporary sports.
We covered a lot in our hours together. We summarized the content of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, a play with enough magic and wonder for three or four film franchises. We wrestled with some of the peculiarities of the Shakespearian stage – be it the absence of female performers, the challenges of playing scenes on a bare platform in the bright of day, or the impact that would have been made by “the groundlings – and we began to imagine how these conditions might impact a contemporary staging of The Tempest.
We studied examples of the design process. You saw sketches and pictures of concepts and you saw photographs and videos of finished products. And, yes, we also passed around The Art of Star Wars – because the process of imagining a Darth Vader or a BB-8 or a Star Destroyer is no different from the process of imagining a Prospero or a Caliban or a tempest.
And we’ve unpacked two specific definitions of practices of design in theatrical performance. We know that design is “the remediation of content from the form of the play script to forms in production that present a unified aesthetic.” We also know that the job of designers is to “make choices.”
Oh! And – in a return to form, for those of you who’ve studied with me previously – we’ve begun to expand upon your vocabulary. Be sure to tell your family what it is to “remediate” words into pictures, or how the aesthetic of Batman would seem at odds with the aesthetic of My Little Pony. Of course, some of you thought that was a faux argument. We’ll have to ask our class contractor, won’t we?
Enjoy your week. I look forward to seeing all of you next Saturday!