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Italy Set Design - the Stage Has Been Set

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The Stage Has Been Set

Actors, costumes, lights and sound are all important elements to a performance, but another very important key to a solid performance is the set. When the audience sees a poorly built set they will struggle to focus on the acting. The set of a play sets the stage for the play. The Italians set the standard for other countries in the area of set building, with the help from the Bibiena family. Italy's talent in set building is highlighted in the play Golden Apple; it had some of the most elaborate scene changes in its day. Italy knew the importance of set design, and passed it on to England and France.

Italy led the way in set design and therefore many other western theatres adapted Italian set designs for their own use. Sets are such a critical part in helping to tell the story of a performance; they can bring an audience into what the actors are saying/doing. An aspect Italy tackled well was the mood of a set. The "mood" of a set is such a key to a good set; it focuses more on the atmospheric values of shadow and light. This, if done right, can add such a beautiful effect on the entire performance giving such a powerful image for the audience. A phenomenal set makes a theatre stand out; it not only helps the audience believe more in the performance but also helps the actors become more into character.

Italy used their phenomenal set design ability in the performance The Golden Apple. What I would give to get to time travel and see this set! In this performance there were twenty-three settings and thirty-five machines and, in the final scene, three groups of performers performed simultaneously, with one group being on land, the other on a sea, and the last group in the sky. What an amazing sight to see! It clearly shows that Italy pushed the envelope when it came to set building. Whether the performance was as grand as the set, we don't know, but the set most certainly captured the audience's attention.

Some of the most impressive and innovative set designs came from the powerful Italian family, the Bibienas. Stages reached their peak through the work of this highly influential family. The Bibiena families' talent was recognized by not just Italy but other major cites as well. Paris, Lisbon, London, Stockholm, Berlin, Dresden, and St. Petersburg employed them for set design. Not only were they extremely talented designers, but also were the leading architects of the eighteenth century. They put their talent as architects towards theatre building in France, Austria, and Germany, and of course, Italy. They are credited with the introduction of angle perspective. Rather than using a single vanishing point located at the rear of a set, the angle perspective used two or more vanishing points at the sides. The designs before were more focused on central vista. Clearly the Bibiena family was a strong power behind Italy's beautiful



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