As the world struggle to control the spread of the coronavirus, many States, due to COVID-19, have been in the forefront of taking the unprecedented step of closing schools and universities and moving to online instruction. The Scenographer editorial team is offering an added contribution to the regular lessons that every design school and university is organising online. We’ve launched “Scenography Notebooks” comprising documents, articles, reviews and monographs in digital format, aimed at those who teach and study set design in high schools and universities. Free tools to download and archive, to keep you up to speed whenever you need. Our “Notebooks” were essentially created to act as a means of support to the study of scenography. Our educational program features stage design and direction, brought to you by a number of internationally renowned directors and designers who give insights into their work.
Our "Notebooks" were essentially created to act as a means of support to the study of scenography. They are therefore an added value for those who attend courses remotely at this very difficult time for education in general, due to Covid.
A part of this material is already available in our archive, but other documents, updated, will be selected and published during the new year.
The first document is already available here, it’s an in-depth illustrated article on all the projects of an Italian set designer whose name is inextricably linked to the work of a great director, maestro Maurizio Scaparro, a pillar of great contemporary Italian theatre. The set designer in question is Roberto Francia. (1938-2009). The creator of sets of unforgettable productions, staged in European theatres, such as the Don Quixote, fragments of a theatrical discourse or the renowned Galileo by Bertolt Brecht.
“Starting from Goethe is fundamental for me. The presentation of ‘’The Prologue’’ is one method of justifying the concept of my performances while demonstrating to the public the wonder of the prologue itself. It is the essence of Faust. Goethe’s theatrical philosophy produced a work to be read rather than to be performed. The Prologue emphasizes that the spatiality of the universe is reflected in that of the theatre: the geometry of the theatre reflects that of the heavens. ‘’
The Maestro’s powerful sensitivity, deeply affected by the Faustian Myth and strongly attached to Goethe’s poem, brings to light profound meanings often neglected by the three composers who felt constrained to select one of the several possible themes presented in the poem. Hugo de Hana’s direction can be considered “baroque” due to the excessive visual elements, “symbolical” for the constant reference to symbolic elements, “visionary” where fantastic representations prevail. In any case and in every case it is always precise, never vague or sketchy; indeed it is in these very qualities, in its profound harmony with the “immeasurable” poem, that lie its expressive richness and its extraordinary capacity to capture the collective imagination.
Prof. arch. M.Isabella Vesco, Professor of Scenography at the Faculty of Architecture, Palermo. Italy
Treatises on theatre apparatus written by Serlio and Sabbatini long ago emphasized how the relationship between art and technical innovation is certainly nothing new: in every period the technology of its age has been applied: from "periaktoi" to all other types of Greek stage machinery, to the fifteenth-century "intermezzi" of Brunelleschi, Vasari and their peers, to Baroque devices, right up to the most sophisticated technologies of our time.
In the 20th century the history of theatre was confronted with the theme of technology on a dual front: on one side we find directors and scenographers that believe and work in the new methods while on the other side traditionalists persist in the notion that technology is the enemy of tradition. So-called traditional theatre has its history and should not be demonized, however, one cannot deny that technology is altering our perception of space and time. Often one orientation does not exclude the other: scenery designed using advanced systems of virtual reality can also incorporate more traditional tools and methods.
(Theatre director, set and costume designer)
At the beginning of my career I found that I was at odds with the then current modes of theatre design in force, both for the traditional methods of realization and the rules of the profession. What for me felt a natural way of working has in fact become the precept for a theatre reform through a method of design of an
architectural nature in that it provides precise drawings for the execution of every particular of the design, that indicates the materials, plots each phase of the project and from the traditional sketch it produces an accurate visualization of the project.
With a methodical approach to design, scenography has become a leading character of a production, exciting the interest of researchers and critics of contemporary visual arts and testified by numerous university dissertations for courses in Theatre, Philosophy and Architecture.