In this design Hudson explored ways in which the audience’s engagement with the performance could be radically changed by entirely re-shaping the small interior space of the Gate Theatre, London. Eugene O’Neill’s classic play ‘The Emperor Jones’ concerns the journey of a despotic ruler on a Caribbean island who is deposed.
Hudson wanted the audience to experience the action of the play as though under a microscope with a sense of ‘no escape’ for the main protagonist. In order to achieve this, Hudson designed a long rectangular pit with bamboo walls and a brown sand floor. The audience of sixty were positioned in a single row around the edge of the pit, looking down into it and thereby obliged to engage in the action in a ‘sit forward and observe’ position rather than the more usual one of ‘sit back and receive’. In order to maintain the feeling of entrapment Hudson constructed invisible doors in the bamboo walls through which the characters in the play that Jones met on his journey (at one point an entire group in full Victorian dress) entered and exited in blackout. As the play progressed Jones gradually lost the trappings of power until, by the end, he was virtually naked. Hudson sought to re-enforce this disintegration by installing a set of slow moving ceiling fans that were gradually lowered during the play until the audience were almost looking through them. This served to heighten the tension, accentuate the sense of danger, and increase the spectators’ concentration on Jones’ predicament.
|Type of Research:||Art/Design Item|
|Additional Information (Publicly available):|
The relationship between design and direction in the performing arts (particularly Opera), and the use of unusual materials and techniques on the stage.
The use of aluminium bead curtains instead of conventional gauzes as a material to obfuscate and reveal images on stage during a performance of a ballet. The bead curtains have the advantage that the performers can pass through them.
|Your affiliations with UAL:||Colleges > Wimbledon College of Art|
|Date:||21 October 2007|
|Locations / Venues:|
|Deposited By:||INVALID USER|
|Deposited On:||26 Nov 2009 19:21|
|Last Modified:||23 Sep 2011 16:50|