Sunday, 22 January 2012

Gaia theory of set design

I approached this from my experience of previous productions I have produced and directed (these roles  are usually combined into person in a lot of Drama groups). I have found that the "space" starts in a state of chaos and from the bedlam on the floor emerges a set; the players and members combine together to construct a piece of fiction. Someone needs to develop their thoughts into a three dimensional construct that from the auditorium will allow the viewers to suspend belief.
I had the use of colour in mind from the outset, I thought that monochrome would remove a level of complication and deliver a "simpler" view; I thought that colour would present confusion better. I looked for moments of clarity in the confusion, I looked to isolate thoughts, individual moments of inspiration - simple stages, even box sets,  are often designed on the fly. I searched symbols of the transience of the set; I remember once going back stage at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and seeing the reverse side of the scenery and marvelling at the symbology from the likes of Kellogg's on the cardboard set. The set uses good size lumps of wood, hardboard, cardboard, screws, nails and string. These shots demonstrate the collective chaos; people team-up for a few moments then move to different things, it's a real cooperative effort. Coming from the outside it might appear anarchic and unsteady, Kevin the director has to have an eye and a view on all aspects - he will be seen looking, watching, agreeing, helping to create this thing that will appear in a few weeks as a working set.

 These shots are depicting moments - they may be ideas, they may be comments on the production, they maybe the minor nirvana moments (that are often discussed and then discarded). The scene gets built in this way, iteratively.

And work - these photographs are about the toil, about getting down to the straightforward graft of building flats, bringing them together, creating illusion.

And these shots are about the people, I have tried to isolate them in moments, times of thought and in conversation

And these are about shapes:

And a few others that I saw. the first showing the ephemeral nature of set construction; Ken being totally prepared for tea break and then "something for the weekend?" 


  1. Very interesting and I get quite a vivid impression of what happens in the build-up. To me colour is definitely the right choice here.

  2. My concern will be when the downselect happens for the assignment - so many other aspects of the production to cover