The Ideas Behind Two Creative Minds In Theatre

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade November 2001

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Edward Gordon Craig and Robert Wilson are considered to be important figures in directing and especially designing in the theatre. Although they took on different topics and jobs in the theatre, they still can and have been compared to each other. I intend, in this essay, to compare and contrast Craig and Wilson's work in the theatre.

Edward Gordon Craig was born in England in 1872 to the renowned actress Ellen Terry and the great architect-designer Edward William Godwin. He had early acting experience at the Lyceum Theatre under Sir Henry Irving, his mother's famous acting partner. After nine years, however, he reacted against Irving's control and began to develop his own theories (Richard 30-33). He believed that there were two types of theatre: the perishable and the durable. The perishable theatre had an ego and it was the one that he was trying to break away from. The durable theatre was the one that he decided to try and create, without an ego.

He was twenty seven when he started production of his first play, called Dido and Aenas. In his theatre, the footlights were lowered to a minimum and the light fell from above. The costumes of the actors were planned as part of a big picture and not just for their individual effect. To achieve a certain effect, as in The Vikings, he used dresses with eight shades of gray. He always loved to use grays and browns in his productions. The Times wrote that the scenic simplicity and sharpness were impressive, "harmonious in coloring, broad and massive in design." Craig simplified and got away from all the extravagant staging of his time, so that the theatrical component might be set free. He wanted a serious theatre, not a theatre of compromises, doing things his way...

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