UC San Diego
The Intersection of External and Internal--Space as People
- Author(s): Lieber, Kathryn
- Advisor(s): Both, Andrei
- et al.
Humans have an instinctive need to personalize, and a great capacity to effect major customization of the world around them. We change the planet to suit our needs and our homes become an extension of ourselves. Since theatre is the heightened mirror of real life, it stands to reason that this instinct to personalize and customize our surroundings would be magnified on the stage. As a scenic designer, I have been exploring human relations to space, and how our need to adapt objects to us has imprinted our inner selves onto inanimate objects, imbuing them with a sense of character in their own right.
For realistic plays like Hedda Gabler or June Moon, the implications of this are straightforward. Hedda needs her curtains and the songwriters of Tin Pan Alley need a piano. Hedda projected a sterile and foreboding environment while our affable musicians called for a certain amount of endearing clutter. These signifiers are less obvious in the more abstract and metaphoric plays. For A Man, His Wife, and His Hat the characters bled into their surroundings tho the point of merger, but the walls themselves revolted and became their own personality. I had to create character through paint and projections. The process I went through to find character in architecture was perfect preparation for The Dybbuk. By merging the visual signifiers of Judaism with the architectural cues related to spirituality, I created a space that simultaneously spoke of the Jewish people and welcomed the varying spiritual ideas of the audience.
My designs are always pushing towards life, towards having, or at least implying, a life of their own as derived from the lives of their inhabitants. Scenery can be people too.