Monday, February 7, 2011

3 famous scenographers

There are three famous international scenographers. Their names are Josef Svoboda, Adolphe Francois Appia and last but not least Edward Gordon Craig.Today i decided to write about them and their theories. 

Josef Svoboda

“When I sit alone in a theatre and gaze into the dark space of its empty stage, I’m frequently seized by fear that this time I won’t manage to penetrate it, and I always hope that this fear will never desert me. Without an unending search for the key to the secret of creativity, there is no creation. It’s necessary always to begin again. And that is beautiful.” - Josef Svoboda.

Josef Svoboda was born on May the 10th 1920 in Caslav, Czechoslovakia. He was first attracted to the world of theatre whilst studying at the Central School of Housing in Prague, however it was not until the end of World War II that he began to study scenography at the Prague Conservatory and architecture at the Academy of Applied Arts. Svoboda died on April the 8th 2002, reckoned that he had designed and directed over 700 theatrical performances. His theory influences of all of Svoboda’s work are tangible and leading to contemporary theatre. Svoboda used the images and light of the projection to sculpt the scenic elements. In Polyekran a wall of cubes shifted position, moving forwards and backwards, inside each cube a projector threw images onto the surface of the cube facing the audience. Light, photographic image, object and object manipulation combined to create a living, moving work of performance art. His reputation as the most influential scenographer of the 20th century is well deserved and supported by his work for many academic institutions, and his role in educating and training younger scenographers the world over.

Adolphe Appia

Adolphe Appia was born in 1862 in Geneva, Switzerland. His father, was a famous physician named Doctor Louis Paul Amedee Appia. Appia's mother, Anna, died when he was 24 years old. Appia suffered from a stuttur and also a shy child. From an early age Appia had a passion for the theater, but he grew up in an atmosphere that discouraged such interests. Appia eventually gained his father's permission to study music and in that way was able to pursue his love of the theater.
Appia was drawn to Wagner's operas and his theories of staging them. Although he admired the operas, Appia had no love for the use of the elaborate costumes or painted sets. Instead, he prefered powerful, suggestive stagings that would create an artistic twist, a blending of actor, stage, lighting, and music. After a long study of the operas, He theorized that the scenery should be replaced with steps, ramps, platforms, and drapeds that blended with the actor's movements and the floor. For Appia, space was a dynamic area that attracted both actor and spectator and brought about their interaction. Complementing his concept of space was his belief that lighting should be used to bring together the visual elements of the drama. Appia create his own theory that the rhythm in a text is the key to every gesture and movement an actor uses during a performance. He concluded that the rhythm could unify the elements of an opera. For most of his life Appia worked alone sketching and writing books and essays regarding his theories. Among Appia's important publications were The Staging of Wagner's Musical Dramas (1895), Music and Stage Setting (1899), and The Work of Living Art (1921).

Edward Gordon Craig

Edward Gordon Craig was born in Stevenage/Hertfordshire, England in 1872 as son of the actress Ellen Terry and the theatre director Edward William Godwin. Between 1889 and 1897 he worked as an actor at Henry Irving's "Lyceum Theatre" in London and began to design his own stage designs.

He was interested in graphics and was taught woodcut techniques by James Pryde, William Nicholson and William Rothenstein since 1893. In his journal "The page" he published several graphics using various pseudonyms. In 1899 Craig turned back to the theatre and founded the "Purcell Operatic Society" together with the composer Martin Fallas Shaw. Here his most important theatre works were executed. With the help of Harry Graf Kessler in Weimar he got acquainted with important contemporary artists and achieved an international breakthrough with his programmatic essay "The Art of the Theatre". Edward Gordon Craig became the reformer of the stage design which had been dominated by the aesthetic of depiction and illusionism. His theatre concept based on abstract, lighting and shadow has influence people until the 20th century. Craig's drawings and woodcuts are formed by the style of the turn of the century and refer in their decorative line drawing, the sectioning of areas in clear forms and the high-contrast setting of light and shadow to Art Nouveau.

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