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Is drama losing out to design in modern theatre?

Is the question Lyn Gardner raises in her excellent Guardian Theatre Blog. After watching a performance of Faces in The Crowd at the Royal Court designed by William Fricker and Rae Smith Lyn discusses modern theatre design and its role in modern theatre production 

Lyn asks: “is the design of the play more interesting than the play itself? Is it genuinely in service of the play or there to disguise the play’s deficiencies – or make it seem more than it is?”

Contemporary designers call upon a bumper size dictionary of design vocabulary and a Mary Poppins carpet bag full of trickery and treats in modern theatre, are on occasion guilty of not allowing the text to speak for itself?

“As a result theatre has become more plastic, more willing to engage with new languages (dance and multimedia for example), more visually confident and more accessible. It’s a welcome development, and I accept it also means that scripts may be skeletons that are there to be fleshed out.”

Read the full blog entry at http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/theatreblog/2008/oct/23/theatre-royal-court-design

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