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Pathways of Creation

  • Author(s): Bonebrake, Rebecca
  • Advisor(s): Burrett, Alan
  • et al.

As a designer, I have spent much of my time in graduate school thinking about concepts. In an early Design Seminar, there was a debate about whether a concept is actually necessary. Should my design approach to a production be summed up in a single statement, or a set structure of rules? Does this concept make my ideas clearer to those I am presenting them to, or does it bind me in ways that are unhelpful?

My first design as a grad student was for Oyster by Ronald McCants, and I came up with a concept that, while it made sense with the show, was too restricting for me to achieve in a few short days of tech. Shortly after, I designed a dance piece called "Winsome, Lose Some" by Kyle Sorenson. For this show, I translated Kyle's choreographic concept into a lighting one that informed my color selections and focus choices. Here, my lighting concept helped integrate my design into the whole of the piece.

Through the experience of these and other productions I have designed, I have come to the conclusion that concepts are necessary, but they are not a definition. A concept does not need to be a statement, it can be a collection of ideas. It should not be

written in sharpie, it should be scribbled in easy-to-alter drafting pencil. A concept is my pathway into a production, but it is flexible and I should allow it to change throughout the process, as it needs to.

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