Theatre Design & Technology - May 1969 - 27

The first edition of Scene Design and Stage Lighting established itself as the best single book covering scene design,
technical production and stage lighting. Because of the wide
acceptance and depth of knowledge of the first edition, this
review will concern itself more with the revisions and remaining omissions of the second edition rather than with an
evaluation of the work in 1010.
The second edition is 120 pages longer and is extensively
revised in certain areas (such as lighting control) while remaining substantially unchanged in other, initially stronger
areas, scenic design procedure being one of the latter.
The first section of the book, called "The Design Concept,"
and dealing with the layout of the physical theatre and the
process of scene design, has been expanded mainly through
the inclusion of additional illustrative material. A basic stagecraft course utilizing this book as the text will benefit from
the additional illustrations and explanatory material on nonproscenium forms of theatre. New material on drafting tools
and equipment and an expanded section on perspective
drawing have been added.
Revisions to the major division devoted to technical production ("Executing the Design") are restricted to bringing it up
to date as to new materials and processes .. The use of
electrical condu it and pre-formed steel shapes such as Telspar and Dexion in scenery has been introduced. Metal forming tools and both gas and arc welding are dealt with by
way of brief introduction. The use of rigid foams and fiberglas reinforced plastic for properties has been included. The
generally excellent section on the construction of traditional
scenic elements has been retained. However such a book,
which will inevitably be used as a text for basic stagecraft,
should include detailed procedures for the construction of
standard flats and platforms. This, unfortunately, does not
appear in either the first or second ed ition.
The third major division of the book, "Designing the Lighting," has been revised in two directions. One is a general
expansion and updating of the material presented in the first
edition, along with more illustrative photos and drawings.
The second direction is toward greater emphasis on nonproscenium theatre situations and on expansion of the basic
McCandless Method techniques. Additions to previously covvered areas include more information on electrical power
generation and distribution, a more detailed description of
arc follow spots, and introduction of special sections on
tungsten-halogen sources and instruments. However, there is
only the briefest mention of color temperature and that is
in relation to lighting for color television.
The first edition's almost embarrassingly inadequate chapter
on intensity control has now had most of its omissions rectified. Greater detail on types of dimmers, and more photos
of dimmers and control boards have been added. The coverage of this subject is now certainly adequate for a basic
stagecraft course, but more information on the physics of
dimmer operation would be welcome for the advanced student who purchases the book as a reference work, or the
practitioner who is interested in theory. More emphasis has
been placed on what operations can be performed with variou s types of remote control boards, but practically nothi ng is
said about the use of direct control systems.
Lighting for the dance is dealt with for the first time and additional emphasis is placed on the layout, equipment requirements and use of side and back lighting within the
McCandless formula. One of the best features of the first
edition was the inclusion of five sample light plots and instrument schedules for different types of settings. This feature has been retained and expanded with the inclusion of
an additional plot and explanatory information for a thrust
stage production.
There is a very informative new chapter called "Lighting in
th e Commercial Th eatre," This includes a good introduction
to Broadway equipment and practices. The backstage photos


of road boards with their masses of cable runs counterpoint
nicely the earlier pictures of modern pre-set remote control
boards. Of special interest is the reproduction of the
1966-67 A. P.A. Phoenix light plot with partial equipment
lists, hook-up sheets and cue sheets.
The chapters on lighting are, on the whole, very fine in
dealing with equipment, but are in need of more information
on the aesthetics of lighting design. What is the place of
style, rhythm, tempo; how does the actor use lighting; generally, what are the expressive possibilities of this hardware
in the hands of an artist? A sample outline for the procedure of lighting design, conducting rehearsals, and the training of operating personnel would be of help to the inexperienced lighting designer.
While a single work dealing with the three areas of scene
design, technical production and stage lighting cannot be expected to possess the depth of coverage of books devoted
to only one of these areas, Scene Design and Stage lighting easily accomplishes its stated aim of promoting, "the
stimulation of a professional design philosophy."
David H. Jones
Drake University

THE OXFORD COMPANION TO THE THEATRE. Phyllis Hartnoll, ed. 3rd. ed. London, Oxford University Press, 1967.
III., xv + 1088 pp, $15.00.
The new edition of The Oxford Companion is the first reworking of the book since its original publication in 1950
(the Second Edition simply added a small amount of supplementary material). This version, enlarged by 20% and reset,
includes recent developments and, at times, re-writing of the
older articles. Some thirty of eighty contributors are new,
including Frederick Bentham of Strand Electric. The Companion is still a general encyclopedia with a strong British and
historical focus.
Seeking material of direct technical interest, I find many
theatres entered. The New York examples I checked give a
brief history of the theatre with emphasis on notable productions and people. Occasionally there is a reference to
theatre type ("eminently suitable to musicals"), but information directly useful to production people rarely goes beyond
this. The entries on British theatres are often somewhat
more technically oriented, so that a relatively brief article
on the Oxford Music Hall has a couple of bits of description
of scenic and hall arrangements, and most of the 150 words
given to the Mayfair consist of material on staging arrangements. As to people, I find no entries on Jean Rosenthal,
Peggy Clarke, or Oliver Smith, and Jo Mielziner has a scant
100 words. Garrick's designer, de Loutherbourg, does appear, and a number of his technical and design innovations
are noted.
While something less than a fifth of the 3000 entries are
given to theatre language, most of these consist of technical
or backstage terminology. The method remains that of the
encyclopedia, so that there are, for example, a 5000-word
article on acoustics (by Hope Bagenal), an 8000-word
piece on scenery, and a 20,000 worder on lighting (Stanley
McCandless and others). Some of the scores of terms used
in such pieces are cross-referenced, but many are not.
Thus, the article on lighting deals with quartz (3 sentences), the silicon controlled rectifier (a paragraph), and
presets (a number of paragraphs) but none of these appears
at its place in the alphabet. As a result. the Companion
functions pretty much as a series of manuals rather than as
a dictionary guide to theatre technology.
But there are surprises. If the article on "machine play"
contains no treatment of even a sample device or two, the
entry on "machinery" contains cross-references to boat
trucks, drum-and-shaft, trickwork, flying effects, traps, and
other devices. "Trickwork" turns out to be "Trickwork on



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Theatre Design & Technology - May 1969

Theatre Design & Technology - May 1969 - 1
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Theatre Design & Technology - May 1969 - Contents
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