Stage Designs of Richard Finkelstein

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Set Design and Lighting Design by R. Finkelstein
Richard Finkelstein
630 Stonewall Dr
Harrisonburg, VA 22801

finkelrs@gmail.com
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is 2012 R. Finkelstein

 

The Lark - Scenic and Projection Design by R. Finkelstein.
Produced at The New York State Theatre Institute in Albany NY and in Syracuse. Pictured below is the Scenic model.

 

Description of the Settings:

The setting consisted of a series of platforms forming an island/surround configuration over multiple levels. The central platform was highly textured with Masonite "plates" while the other platforms were treated with a collage of distressed, dyed, cheesecloth and scrim. The structure of the platforms was in view and treated as rustic wood.

Projections were intended as a grand element. Overall the projection area was larger than 30 feet high by 90 feet in width. The screens were fashioned from three large panels of wide nightgown fabric. Besides the cost, the sheen of the fabric created an impressive image intensity gain for the projectors. The screens were hand-dyed with blacks, greens, and earth tones. Because of the sheen of the fabric, the dark coloring did not diminish the image intensity. In fact the greater contrast gave the illusion of greater image intensity. All slides were hand painted or hand crafted in abstract textures. The projection technology included a Buel Highlight projector and two Kodak Ektagraphic projectors.

 

Conceptual Foundations:

In The Lark Anouilh sets up, in almost Brechtian fashion, a series of debate between competing theses. Easy, exact, answers are not forthcoming in the debate. The result is a work which should cause the audience to ponder a great number of issues dealing with topics ranging from the power of religious institutions to the role of the individual within society.

As a designer, what I attempted to do, was to provide a physical environment to give voice to these debates over competing interests and ideas. I tried as well to offer elements that could as well be taken in competing ways.

The plates on the central platform were a good example. When lit in one way the plates had a feeling of leather, a material of ancient armor of the common man. Weather or not Joan had the kind of metal armor that we might romantically associate with her, I feel that leather is a more appropriate symbol of her armament.

Within the brown tones of the plate, I added gold bronzing powder. With different light, the platform glowed in a rich golden light, clearly a symbol of the royal power. So at once the central platform could look as a symbol of the common one or as the royal seat of power. It was really a striking effect.

I also worked to give articulation to the debate through support of various movement and spatial themes. There was an element in the design reminiscent of a bear pit. At times Joan, on trial, would be isolated in the center, with her accusers marshaled all around in positions of greater physical power. While they had the strategic "high ground" as it were, at times the relationship could be reversed, with Joan claiming the MORAL high ground. I created thus an environment in flux between competing themes.

I also provided multiple paths between the high and low grounds. Some of the paths were direct and forceful, while others were more sinuous. These supported different dynamics of movement and character.

As the play progressed, by the time Joan is in prison, her space on the stage, descends to the wood plank area at the lowest point on the stage. Not only is this the lowest point on the stage, it is also the most isolated; the most alone.