Stage Scene Production
In every semester, I tell myselfthe next term will be a little easier. However, the next semesterturns out to be more tiresome than the previous. In fact, everysemester is more painstaking than the last one. In this term, Iworked for two sectors at the semester. One was scene shop and theother was Hamletrun crew. In order to graduate on time, I chose the three-creditscene shop in this semester, which needed 125 hours to complete.Thankfully, I made it to finish the 125-hour work before Hamlet wason.
There were two dramas that neededour sector of scene shop’s coordination. One was Dancingat Lughnasa and theother was Hamlet,a classic drama. The first drama was completed with the design andparticipation of teachers in Academy of Chinese Traditional Opera. Itdid not need to make a lot of complicated scenes. But since the dramaintegrated some ideas of the Orient’s stage setting, scenes neededto be made according to the size of the stage and add perspectiveeffect as well as paying attention to details to make the audiencelove it. This drama’s scene-making period was moderate, which was asample of scene making with a limited workload.
In the first week, I felt guiltyfor not arriving at school in time because of the bad weather. Nearlyevery day I was there to prepare for Dancingat Lughnasathat took awhole month and I took part in all scenes’ making and adjustments.This drama turned me from a green hand to a member of the making crewwho was familiar with the whole making process in a short time. Therewere two major adjustments of the drama’s scene making. The firstinstance was that we found it took long to make the whole bedroom andits usage rate was low when we were going to set the scene.
Due to the improper angle and thelimited stage, the scene would not attract the audience so we decidedto revise it. The other adjustment was that when the whole projectwas finished, according to some feedback from the drama department’smembers siting in the auditorium, the back of the stage was seeminglyempty. We added some mows made of paper, which not only solved theproblem of emptiness in the stage’s rear but also increased thewhole setting’s depth. The painted material at the garden in frontof the stage and the whole scene, which divided the whole stage intoseveral independent sections, made it easier for performers to changetheir locations in line with the performance content.
Through this experience, Ilearned three points about how to make drama scenes. The first onewas thermal cutting which was to cut a copper wire tied between tworeinforcement positions when it was heated by electricity. Lv’sdelicate making of the common foam plates were turned into stonesteps in three-dimensional contouring after being hardened andpainted, which broadened my horizon. The stone steps were madethrough assembly. After the initial assembly, the thermal cuttingcould mold it to have the effect we wanted.
The second point was the usage ofthe gauze in a large area as the curtain of the drama and walls ofthe house in the front stage setting. There were several steps todraw on the gauze and the most important was to swab lime beforedrawing which was also the part I took part in. I had to make surethe gauze would not have the area displacement due to transfer orforce so that the overall effect after drawing could be assured.
On the other hand, the design toshow performers’ inner activities through the gauze’slight-admitting quality was very delicate and it also received manyviewers’ compliments. The third point was the making and assemblyof the house’s framework on the stage. Many frameworks after beingassembled would have a light leak in later period’s lighting orthey were not able to have the effect the stage needed because ofimproper operation. At that time, we needed to do many adjustments incollaboration with the lighting team. Even though the stage wasmainly the scene shop’s task, in order to have an effect that thedesigner wanted, all teams needed to coordinate with each other to dothe best. Therefore, the work intensively depended on the teamwork.
The second was Hamlet,independently made by our university’s theater department. Sincethe drama’s plot needed a lot of assembly and making, the timetablewas very tight. It made me know how to make a plan ahead of time andhow to make adjustments according to the practical situation whenorganizing a large-scale drama. As a member of the scene shop,a veryimportant point I have learned in this semester, is that I need tocontrol the overall stage at the macro level. Viewers were off thestage and the scene was illuminated so pursuing the overall effect ofthe stage under light was more important than the excelsior makingand it needed accumulation of experience. Hamletis a classic drama written by Shakespeare, which is like a textbook.Hamletisthe longest drama among Shakespeare’s dramas, it is one of the mostimpressive, and influential dramas in British literature and itseemed to “be told and rewritten endlessly”.
The dramais one of Shakespeare’s most popular dramas in his lifetime andsince 1879, it has become the top drama of Royal Shakespeare Companyand was recognized as the drama that was frequently on the screensince Cinderella.However, my primary focus is not that, but the process of the wholescene-making activity and its impact on the play. They were notcontradictory. Making plan and the workload we needed to finish wereimpact and lengthiness means even though we have finished the partthat needed to be made, tests and adjustments between all sectorswere as long as an endless river.
Mycontribution to the drama mostly included painting the whole stageblack. The stage’s background color had been green last time thatneeded to be covered and on the other hand it was the standard stepbefore the drama begins to paint the whole stage in black asprotection and I also took part in the whole stage’s making andassembly. All steps that needed to calculate the angle were completedin coordination with my mentor and my team members. At the same time,I also took part in the details’ making and depiction, the paintingof curtain, positioning and installation. In the last stage of therehearsal, I took up the work of the background coordination ofcurtains and changing.
In thisdrama, Hamlet was acted by a female actor and the effect was alsospectacular. I was honored to have seen Hamletplayed by Yale’s school of Drama in Yale Theater in which Hamlet’srole-player made me feel a bit of deviation from the characterbecause of the age gap. This time the role of Hamlet acted by afemale showed juvenility and innocence of a prince, the pains andtorture he suffers from the heavy destiny, unwillingness andhelplessness he felt when he went to the ruin step by step,conniption after being betrayed by friends, dreariness and pathosafter knowing the death of his lover. Every scene had fullyrepresented the emotional touch spot the play needed to reach.
Much Knowledge on making andinstallation I have learned in the stage-making section at this timesupplements with theater 203 I am learning so that I could applytheories I have learned to the practical making in a short time. Itmakes me understand the meaning of the work I engage with morequickly in order to bring the audience a big surprise and joy withthe work of my team. At the same time, I also enjoy the joy ofcreation and bringing joy to others. I hope I can maintain thisattitude in the next semester and maybe until graduation.