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The setting of a play is a critical piece of the play's mise en scene. It becomes the visual representation of many of the playwright's ideas. Some playwright are incredibly detailed in what they want in the stage setting. Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams, writing in the style of Selective Realism (which is realism + symbolism), use the stage setting to support the symbolic elements of their plays. In Death of a Salesman, for example, the broken refrigerator symbolized Willy's lack of function.
Other playwrights are less detailed in their stage setting, but it is important for a director to make strong and specific decisions about what is on stage, to underpin the theme that they are trying to express to their audience. This visual aspect is what makes seeing a play radically different from reading a play. I always encourage my students to make these pictures in their heads whenever reading a piece of literature; it is often in these pictures that they are able to understand more deeply the subtext.
Stage is a very important part in performing acts in a play. Stage setting should be appropriately handled to make a play successful. In fact, the setting of a play itself depends greatly on the stage setting. The lighting, the props (furniture etc.), and the backdrop scenery – all these should be perfect to make the play really good. Like the costumes of the artists, the perfect measurement of lighting, appropriate background scenery, nice background music (if necessary) and proper use of props are also very important for theatre performance. These create mood & atmosphere.
In Macbeth when Macbeth sees Banquo’s ghost or when he sees the dagger, for example, the stage should be decorated such, as if, it made the audience believe what is unbelievable; the lighting, for this end, can be dimmed, and there can be spread fume on the stage. A real dagger hanged by a thin rope can be shown to make the scene more realistic and daunting. Playwrights like Shaw write their plays in such a way that, the descriptions help the readers a lot to visualise what is happening and what can happen in the future. So, in Shaw’s plays, the props should be used very carefully, otherwise the audience will not get the real pleasure for which they come to the theatre. Even Background music ought to be chosen carefully for any play.
In order to make a play realistic as much as possible, the stage setting should never be neglected.
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