Julia McMorrough – Setting the Stage

Stages are fascinating settings for untold numbers of things to occur. Take Albert Kahn’s Hill Auditorium: In the last century, it has hosted the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Jimi Hendrix, Robert Frost, the Grateful Dead, and Lupe Fiasco. As well as the Taubman College commencement ceremony every spring.

Stages must be flexibly neutral and full of energy; mundane real spaces that foster a different reality. Like architecture, stage design has a rich history, and in the Setting the Stage studio, we dove into that history as well as the histories of theater design and performance. In working through the design of a new theater building, each student simultaneously worked from outside (form) in (stage, performance, audience) and inside out. Building precedents were joined with stage design and performance precedents to cultivate a rich depth of understanding and possibility.

In this studio, students became well-versed in Serlio, Palladio, Hockney, Appia, mis-en-scène, Goethe, the Bauhaus, Mamet, Total Theater, and Perioktoi.

Final documentation considered the many scales of investigation, and included architectural drawings and models as well as scaled stages and settings of performance; setting the stage for delightfully dramatic design.

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Student Work

Alan Escareno

Jay Shairbaum

Tiannou Ouyang

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