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A Streetcar Named Desire Preparing a Design Statement

Title Page Image: Streetcar Inspiration Collage: Kiara Irizarry

WHAT IS A DESIGN STATEMENT?

THE DESIGN STATEMENT IS A DETAILED DESCRIPTION OUTLINING THE GOALS OF A PRODUCTION DESIGN CONCEPT; A COMBINATION OF THE PLAYWRIGHT'S VISION WITH THE SPECIFIC PERSPECTIVE OR POINT OF VIEW THAT THE PRODUCTION TEAM CRAFTS FOR AN INDIVIDUAL PRODUCTION.

THE PRODUCTION TEAM DEVELOPS THE CONCEPT UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF THE DIRECTOR IN A SERIES OF MEETINGS. THE DESIGN STATEMENT CLARIFIES WHAT HAS TO BE ACCOMPLISHED IN THE PRODUCTION, WHY THESE DESIGN CHOICES WERE MADE, AND HOW THE PRODUCTION DESIGN CONCEPT WILL BE ACHIEVED.

Glideshow Image: Streetcar Inspiration Collage, Claire Buchanan

WHY DO WE NEED A DESIGN STATEMENT?

Functions:

  • it's the unifying creative vision for the design elements of the play
  • it allows the production design team to mutually support a creative goal
  • it provides a through line for the entire production environment
HOW DO WE ARRIVE AT THE DESIGN STATEMENT?

Interpretation:

  • through close readings of the script
  • through script analysis, text analysis, and research
  • pulling out the central themes and values of a script
HOW WILL THE DESIGN STATEMENT SERVE OUR PRODUCTION DESIGN PROCESS?

Benefits:

  • provides a framework, a guide
  • keeps the production design team members focused
  • helps with decision making in a world of limitless possibilities
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER WHEN DEVELOPING THE DESIGN STATEMENT...
What are the Major Themes?
  • Select three words to describe the play.
  • What is the specific interpretation that you want to emphasize in your production?
  • What resources (research) will support the design development of this production?
  • What are the feelings and emotions of the play?
Key Lines
  • what visual information is provided in the script?
  • what words bring out imagery?

Context

Environment, Situation, Given Circumstances

INCLUDES:

  • Historical Era
  • Geographical setting
  • Season
  • Character circumstances
  • Class
  • Ethnicity
  • Subculture
  • Generation
  • Family unit

Atmosphere

Tone, Mood, General feeling within the context:

Is it murky, gloomy, stark and forbidding?Charged with treachery and death? Is it quite literally haunting?

Find your adjectives and you will find your atmosphere.

Design Elements

  • lines
  • forms
  • colors
  • textures

Think of the different forms, shapes, and objects that exist in the character's space. Visualize their colors and textures, play with the quality of line and the scale of these elements, in order to create the environment for the world of the play that embodies your production design concept.

How is the play structured?

PLOT:

  • Episodic structure?
  • Linear structure?

AUDIO ELEMENTS:

  • Live music performances?
  • Recorded soundtracks?

GENRE OF THE PLAY: DRAMATIC STYLE

  • Comedy
  • Tragedy
  • Melodrama
  • Tragicomedy

THE THEATRICAL STYLE:

  • Classicism
  • Romanticism
  • Realism
  • Symbolism
  • Constructivism
  • Deconstructivist
  • Expressionism
  • Epic Theatre
  • Documentary
  • Absurdism
DESIGN STATEMENT OUTLINE

WHAT: Briefly state what has to be accomplished.

  • given circumstances of the play
  • outline of the plot or action
  • your production concept objectives (genre, themes, design objectives)
  • type of space the play will be produced in

WHY: Explain why you made these design choices.

  • more subjective, interpretive
  • relate to emotional, evocative content of the play
  • overall mood, period style

HOW: Describe how you will accomplish your design objectives.

  • Translate your design objectives into actual visual choices that describe the line, color, texture, form, & ornamentation that will be used to create your environment.

Credits:

Created with images by LoganArt - "model dark vintage" • RyanMcGuire - "tuba music store musical instrument" • Bart Scholliers - "smoking the bathtub" • HoliHo - "carnival masquerade mask" • xeno_mas - "poker poker chips cards" • Thomas William - "Couple holding hands"

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