Disortion of Art in Bob Crowley's Drama Theatre

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Table of contents

  1. Global Context: Orientation in Time and Space
  2. Statement of Inquiry: Art distorts, abstracts and blends space and time
  3. An American In Paris

Global Context: Orientation in Time and Space

Statement of Inquiry: Art distorts, abstracts and blends space and time

This task required us to write up a research report on Bob Crowley. We were also asked to do a critical analysis on two of his set designs; ‘An American In Paris’ and ‘The Glass Menagerie’. After critically analyzing both of Crowley’s set designs, we were instructed to do a compare and contrast on both; ‘An American in Paris’ and ‘ The Glass Menagerie’. Within the report, we were also tasked to make a reference between the set designs and the global context and the statement of inquiry. The global context for this Unit is Orientation in Space and time and the statement of inquiry is art distorts, abstracts and blends space and time.

Set designs link to the global context; Orientation in Space and time in a variety of different ways. Set designs have a clear link to the global context as set design has the ability to instantly modify the setting and time frame of a play. A set design has the power to distort time, which allows the play to shift the audience’s perception, taking them into a whole new time frame and era. A set design also creates an unusual atmosphere, allowing the audience to relate to the setting of the play. The atmosphere also gets the audience to interact with the behaviors possessed by characters in a particular time frame or era. A perfect example of this would be; when the play is based around the Colosseum, the audience’s vision would be transported to Ancient Rome.

As for the statements of inquiry; Art distorts, abstracts and blends space and time. This gives a clear indication that forms of art, such as Drama can be used to effectively create unusual atmospheres, which allows it to set a completely new space and time. To create an unusual space and time, Drama uses a variety of different ways. These ways would usually include; flashbacks, sound, lighting and even flash-forwards. Theatre also effectively uses symbolism to portray several messages and also abstract different themes. Crowley uses many of these ways to his advantage, this also allows him to distort, blend and abstract space and time within his plays.

Bob Crowley is a popular figure within the set designer industry. Crowley is born in 1952, in a city called Cork based in the Republic of Ireland. He is remembered for many of his works in the National Theatre. Over his long illustrated career, he has created sets for over 20 plays performed in the National Theatre. Some of his most popular sets include; ‘Carousel’, ‘The History Boys’, ‘American In Paris’ and ‘The Glass Menagerie’. Crowley has also worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company, for which he has received an Oliver award. He received an Oliver award for his set of ‘Les Liaisons Dangereuses’. As the play; ‘Les Liaisons Dangereuses’ had a highly successful run in London, it was later transferred to Broadway.

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Crowley has also embraced success for a lot of his other plays. He has received plenty nominations from the Tony Awards and has also won the award in seven different occasions. Some other awards he won were; Laurence Olivier award for best-set design and three-time winner of Drama desk award for outstanding set design. He has received numerous awards for designing Broadway plays; Aida, Marry Poppins, The coast of Utopia, The History Boys, Aida and Once.

An American In Paris

An American in Paris was originally a romantic film, which was produced in 1951. The film mainly revolves around finding love and happiness. The film stars actors; Gene Kelly (Jerry), Oscar Levant (Adam) and Georges Guetary (Henri), while actress; Leslie Caron (Lise) was also part of the film. The film was also directed by Vincente Minnelli and produced by Arthur Freed.

The film is set in Paris, the city of lights. It is also about An American retired-soldier, Jerry Mulligan who immigrated to Paris trying to become a famous painter. Jerry’s friend Adam is also a struggling concert pianist and introduces Jerry to Henri, a French singer. Later on in the film, Jerry meets a woman called Lise and instantly falls in love with her, although he does not realize that Lise is Henri’s girlfriend. This causes major confusion between both friends, as they do everything in their power to make Lise fall in love with them.

The play on the ‘American in Paris’ is a musical based play and is also inspired by the Academy-Award-winning movie, which was produced in 1951. The play was also created in April 2015 and was opened at the Palace Theatre on Broadway. The songs in the play are by George and Ira Gershwin, while Craig Lucas creates the book. The play is based on the storyline of the film, which was made in 1951, but Crowley’s use of lighting and costume allows him to distort abstract and blend space and time. This also allows him to modify the play, basing the story in modern-day Paris.

Crowley has used a variety of different methods to distort and abstract the space within the stage. One of the major factors used by Crowley to distort the space in the play is by constantly changing the images in the space that is surrounding the characters. Throughout the play, Crowley changes the background images to a variety of different famous landmarks in Paris. Some of the famous landmarks used as the background images include the Eiffel tower, Notre-Dame de Paris and several other famous artifacts.

As there is a constant change in the background images, Crowley even uses a variety of different lighting, which allows him to shit the audience’s perception. Within different stages of the play, the lighting goes from light to dark, indicating a change in the time of the day. Some of the colors used for the lighting include; Grey, Dark blue and even light blue.

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