Scenic Design in Western Theatre: From the Modern to the Postmodern

Welcome to Scenic Design in Western Theatre

Over the past 150 years society has seen a dramatic change in the way that we conceive of, produce, and consume culture. During this period, the development of technology and society's relationship with that development has played an important role in the subject material of cultural works as well as in aesthetic styles and new modes of cultural production. This course will address how these changes in Western culture impacted theatrical scenic design consider how theatre artists responded to the impact and availability of new technologies and to the changing sociocultural environments within which these artists were working.

Julie Taymor, The Lion King

After a brief interrogation into what exactly scenic designers do and the role of the designer in the theatrical process, the course will consider theoretical and aesthetic shifts throughout Europe and the United States as well as changes in modes of theatrical production. Amongst the writers and designers covered in the course will be Richard Wagner, Edward Gordon Craig, Robert Edmond Jones, Bertolt Brecht, Josef Svoboda, Robert Wilson, and the Wooster Group. The course will cover artistic movements such as symbolism, futurism, constructivism and theatrical genres ranging from Broadway theatre to multimedia performance and performance art.
In addition to traditional reading, discussion, and research, students will get a chance to experiment with the composition of materials in order to express a visual metaphor based on a play of their choice, much as a scenic designer would.

External Links


Theatre Trips

Cries and Whispers
Met Backstage Tours
Magnanimous Cuckold at CUNY