Directing Shakespeare: The Nature of Design
In 2001, five directors in the "Directing Shakespeare Symposium" sat down with moderator and set designer Ming Cho Lee for a unique experiment regarding the relationship between director and designers, specifically concerning a Shakespearean text. A mock first production meeting was held for an imaginary staging of A Winter's Tale, with the designers being told to end the meeting with the inspiration to go home, pick up a pencil, and not need to talk with the director for the next two weeks. They discussed many crucial aspects of the first few stages in the artistic process, such as their initial emotional responses to the text, how to establish the physical world of the play, and how to visually develop the inner conflict within a character through technical elements. Other topics discussed include: working with new or unfamiliar designers, starting points for collaboration and inspiration, and the positives and negatives of labeling Shakespearean plays as "comedy" or "drama". This group of talented directors delving deep into a complex Shakespearean text is an hour of discussion that should not be missed.