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Theatre Designers – Ming Cho Lee

Born on the 3rd October 1930 in Shanghai, China.

China Ming Cho Lee was by the 1960s to find himself working in American Theater and known as the “Dean” of American theater design.

His mother introduced Lee to theater, movies and of course Chinese Opera. She also paid for ink drawing and watercolor lessons with the artist Change Kwo-Nyen.

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Lee’s designs turn structure into communication, his Macbeth at the Shakespeare Theater, Washington D.C. in 1995 was a truly frightening theatrical montage that revelled in the darker sides of the plays nature. However in Tony Davis excellent book “Stage Design” (ISBN 2-88046-506-0) Lee expressed some unease about some of his design decisions, such as the huge blood-stained upside down tree that was the center-piece of the design.

The design however is one that Lee is now famous for. Perhaps like most artists and designers his unease is part of the ongoing pursuit to achieve a better theatrical picture.

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