Monday, February 23, 2009

Field Trip: Endgame

On Sunday our class went to a theater in Harvard Square and saw a production of the play Endgame. We were to watch it while paying careful attention to the set, since we'll be required to write a paper about how the physical layout affected the movement of the actors and how the visual impression of the set compared and contrasted with the text.

I did not like Endgame.

The production was fine, but the play itself was just really not my style. I am perfectly okay with this, considering the depressing themes of the play.

I do, however, have to admit that the set was excellent. The colors were completely bland and gloomy, which certainly added to the effect. The absence of greens and blues was particularly noticeable, especially when the characters talked about how there was no nature left in the outside world.

The physical space of the set was also very constrictive. This was clearly intentional. I think this was mainly accomplished by the side walls. Most sets I've seen are more or less a backdrop. There might be a door off to the side for characters to move through, but usually the edges of the room in which the acting takes place is somewhat blurred. In this case, the set was actually a full room, with 3 walls. This induced quite an impressive feeling of claustrophobia.

Not only that, but it seemed to me that the set was also raised a bit from where I expected the stage to be. The room was brightly lit but the areas around it were in utter darkness. Even after my eyes had adjusted to the lighting I couldn't see a single detail outside of that confined box, no matter how hard I strained. This made the whole set seem as if it were floating in a complete abyss- clearly tying in with a main theme of the play.

I won't go into detail, because I still have to write a paper about this, let's not forget. I'll have no material left. But in general, the set really worked. Even if I hated the play.

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