Production Design Research: A Collaborative Inquiry and Expression of Shakespeare
I am a research assistant supporting Professor Brian Jones' creative development of a scenic design for unique public performances of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. This performance is to be presented by IUP’s Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance on October 16-24, 2020. The production, served by this research, is an example of Performance as Research, in which the pursuit of inquiry evolves through the creative process from the outset point—a set of creative prompts, perceptions, and questions established by the collaborative production team. My research takes the form of different theatrical design tasks including, but not limited to, dramaturgical analysis, creating image banks, and developing lines of inquiry-based upon script analysis. I meet with Professor Jones and another student researcher each week to consult on research findings and develop new questions and tasks. The theatrical design process uses many forms of productive research, collaboration, and reflection which will be beneficial in this research project.
This project is important because I am able to support and assist Professor Brian Jones in creating and designing the final scenic design for IUP Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance. As a team, we collaborate through in-depth research and thought-provoking discussions. These special and targeted lines of inquiry play a key role in developing the final scenic design. By working on this project and participating in numerous research areas, it has been important to me to advance my scenic design knowledge, capabilities, leadership and teamwork skills. Having the opportunity to attain hands-on research and make valuable and long-lasting connections has been significant. Throughout this process, I have learned various theatrical design approaches from Professor Brian Jones including, how he identifies design problems and various ways to find solutions. Learning new techniques and methods in theatrical design is critical to help me grow my applied design, innovative thinking and observation skills. Furthermore, I value how this experience is helping me shape my artistic decisions, my ability to collaborate with professional designers and peers.