DQ The designer (whether lighting, costume or sound) creates an environment for the stage and an experience for the audience.

DQ The designer (whether lighting, costume or sound) creates an environment for the stage and an experience for the audience.

FAS 110 Living the Theatre

Module 5 Discussion

The Designer

The designer (whether lighting, costume or sound) creates an environment for the stage and an experience for the audience. Whether the concept be representational (true to real life) or presentational (an abstract, distorted reality) the design has to be functional and accessible not only for the actors, but also for the stage crew and audience.

When I think of extravagant stage designs, I immediately think of Carl Fillion’s multi-million dollar machine used in the staging of Richard Wagner’s Das Rheingold at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

Please watch the trailer on Youtube: Das Rheingold Trailer from Cineworld Cinemas. It is 2 minutes and 25 seconds in length and then respond to the following:

Director Robert Lepage and Set designer Carl Fillion utilized a 45 ton machine that included vertical platforms, (a palisade of two dozen fiberglass covered aluminum planes) that tilted vertically and horizontally to create and form various stage configurations.

This huge structure of large moving planks moved back and forth creating the surface of the Rhine River in Germany. it also was used as a screen for video projections, it had motifs and was interactive, triggered by the movements of the performers. The performers were catapulted above it, they climbed on top of it, slid down it. Sometimes the platforms became horizontal, other times vertical depending upon the action on stage. At the opening of the opera, The Rhine Maidens (three mermaids) dangled from cables and sung full operatic scores while maneuvering and balancing themselves above and onto the moving planks of the Valhalla Machine as it was ultimately dubbed. The Rhine waters (large planks) swayed to and fro creating the movement of water, turned to gold coins, produced bubbles as the mermaids swam beneath the surface, and became a platform where the Rhine Maidens could perch themselves on and slide down from. This all occurs just in the opening scene! Later during the opera, the Machine turns into a staircase to get the actors from one location to another. It also turns into a rainbow bridge, an entry way into Valhalla (Heaven), that the performers are able to walk upon and enter into (at the close of the opera). You will see this scene at the end of the trailer. The Machine was malleable and versatile and did many more configurations during the course of the opera (too many too list).

There was a problem however, the production was delayed because of technical difficulties with the machine. Also, several productions received mixed reviews because the machine broke down in the middle of the performance, yet the opera singers had to maintain their composure and the highest level of artistry despite the lifeless (yet integral machine). Which apparently they would manage to do DESPITE the problems with the machine (as noted by numerous critiques).

I saw the production and personally appreciated the complexity and beauty of this elaborate machine. I personally felt it added to the overall experience of the production. For me, it was a tremendous artistic endeavor and achievement. During the night I saw it, the machine behaved and did not break down. The Valhalla Machine (also dubbed the difficult diva) was given this title because it would perform and/or not perform at any given whim and/or time within and during a performance.

After you have viewed the trailer of Das Rheingold, featuring what is considered to be the MOST expensive and extravagant set design ever constructed for a contemporary stage, discuss whether you think this type of set design for entertainment, (theater, the opera, musicals, etc.) is worth it. Should a set design, (no matter how extravagant) be created at any cost, to fulfill the vision and concept of the director and/or designer?

I personally wish you could see the full production of Das Rheingold (the Metropolitan Opera’s version/with the Machine) but being that this is only an 8 week class, time is precious and limited. For now, please see the trailer and let me know what you think. However, if you enjoy the Das Rheingold trailer, I have included an additional trailer: The Wagner Ring Cycle, that shows highlights/footage from the entire operatic production that was shown at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. The multi-million dollar stage was utilized during the course of the entire Wagner Cycle.

I have also included an interview with Robert Lapage, the director of Wagner’s Ring Cycle at the Met. The trailer is called: Wagner’s Dream the opening bars…In this video, you will see the orchestra, stage crew working backstage (actually beneath the stage) manipulating the large planks of the Machine.

For those interested in what happens backstage (behind the scene) with the set crew, I have included another video called: Wagner’s Dream Rolling Out the Machine. It gives you an idea about how large the Machine was and how difficult it was to install it within the actual theater/opera house.

The Machine was developed, designed and tested in Canada by set designer Carl Fillion and Robert Lapage (who was the director of Cirque du Soleil before coming to the Met) and transferred by several moving trucks into New York City where it was assembled by the Met’s stage crew.

The video: 2010 New Met Production of the Ring Cycle shows a condensed version of everything that went into designing this elaborate production from set to costumes, from drawings to actual creation.

I hope you enjoy all the videos of this production as much as I do! However, if you enjoy or want to learn more about the making of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, I recommend the documentary film: Wagner’s Dream; The Making of Der Ring Des Nibelungen, a must see for those who want to learn more about what goes on in the theater before a production even gets started.

Important information for writing discussion questions and participation

Welcome to class

Hello class and welcome to the class and I will be your instructor for this course. This is a -week course and requires alot of time commitment, organization, and a high level of dedication. Please use the class syllabus to guide you through all the assignments required for the course. I have also attached the classroom policies to this announcement to know your expectations for this course. Please review this document carefully and ask me any questions if you do. You could email me at any time or send me a message via the “message” icon in halo if you need to contact me. I check my email regularly, so you should get a response within 24 hours. If you have not heard from me within 24 hours and need to contact me urgently, please send a follow up text to

I strongly encourage that you do not wait until the very last minute to complete your assignments. Your assignments in weeks 4 and 5 require early planning as you would need to present a teaching plan and interview a community health provider. I advise you look at the requirements for these assignments at the beginning of the course and plan accordingly. I have posted the YouTube link that explains all the class assignments in detail. It is required that you watch this 32-minute video as the assignments from week 3 through 5 require that you follow the instructions to the letter to succeed. Failure to complete these assignments according to instructions might lead to a zero. After watching the video, please schedule a one-on-one with me to discuss your topic for your project by the second week of class. Use this link to schedule a 15-minute session. Please, call me at the time of your appointment on my number. Please note that I will NOT call you.

Please, be advised I do NOT accept any assignments by email. If you are having technical issues with uploading an assignment, contact the technical department and inform me of the issue. If you have any issues that would prevent you from getting your assignments to me by the deadline, please inform me to request a possible extension. Note that working fulltime or overtime is no excuse for late assignments. There is a 5%-point deduction for every day your assignment is late. This only applies to approved extensions. Late assignments will not be accepted.

If you think you would be needing accommodations due to any reasons, please contact the appropriate department to request accommodations.

Plagiarism is highly prohibited. Please ensure you are citing your sources correctly using APA 7th edition. All assignments including discussion posts should be formatted in APA with the appropriate spacing, font, margin, and indents. Any papers not well formatted would be returned back to you, hence, I advise you review APA formatting style. I have attached a sample paper in APA format and will also post sample discussion responses in subsequent announcements.

Your initial discussion post should be a minimum of 200 words and response posts should be a minimum of 150 words. Be advised that I grade based on quality and not necessarily the number of words you post. A minimum of TWO references should be used for your initial post. For your response post, you do not need references as personal experiences would count as response posts. If you however cite anything from the literature for your response post, it is required that you cite your reference. You should include a minimum of THREE references for papers in this course. Please note that references should be no more than 5 years old except recommended as a resource for the class. Furthermore, for each discussion board question, you need ONE initial substantive response and TWO substantive responses to either your classmates or your instructor for a total of THREE responses. There are TWO discussion questions each week, hence, you need a total minimum of SIX discussion posts for each week. I usually post a discussion question each week. You could also respond to these as it would count towards your required SIX discussion posts for the week.

I understand this is a lot of information to cover in 5 weeks, however, the Bible says in Philippians 4:13 that we can do all things through Christ that strengthens us. Even in times like this, we are encouraged by God’s word that we have that ability in us to succeed with His strength. I pray that each and every one of you receives strength for this course and life generally as we navigate through this pandemic that is shaking our world today. Relax and enjoy the course!

Hi Class,

Please read through the following information on writing a Discussion question response and participation posts.

Contact me if you have any questions.

Important information on Writing a Discussion Question

  • Your response needs to be a minimum of 150 words (not including your list of references)
  • There needs to be at least TWO references with ONE being a peer reviewed professional journal article.
  • Include in-text citations in your response
  • Do not include quotes—instead summarize and paraphrase the information
  • Follow APA-7th edition
  • Points will be deducted if the above is not followed

Participation –replies to your classmates or instructor

  • A minimum of 6 responses per week, on at least 3 days of the week.
  • Each response needs at least ONE reference with citations—best if it is a peer reviewed journal article
  • Each response needs to be at least 75 words in length (does not include your list of references)
  • Responses need to be substantive by bringing information to the discussion or further enhance the discussion. Responses of “I agree” or “great post” does not count for the word count.
  • Follow APA 7th edition
  • Points will be deducted if the above is not followed
  • Remember to use and follow APA-7th edition for all weekly assignments, discussion questions, and participation points.
  • Here are some helpful links
  • The is a great resource



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