Edward Gordon Craig Presentation


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Edward Gordon Craig Presentation

  1. 1. Edward Gordon Craig
  2. 2. Biography Edward Henry Gordon Craig was born in Stevenage on the 16th January 1872. His mother, who later became the most famous actress of her day, and Sir Henry Irving’s leading lady. Dame Ellen Terry (1847-1928), was then a young woman in her mid-twenties, a very attractive, talented actress. In December 1868 she left the stage for several years, she sets up home with Edward William Godwin (1833-1886), a celebrated architect. The first child born to Ellen Terry and Godwin was Edith Craig (1869-1947), and their son “Teddy” was born three years later. Ellen Terry and Godwin broke up in 1875. Her two other husbands, Charles Kelly and James Carew made a very little impact on the young life of Gordon Craig. On 28th March 1878, when he was only just six years old, Craig made his first appearance on the stage when he ‘walked on’ in Olivia a play in which his mother was appearing at the Royal Court Theatre. After this he appeared in a few plays when he went to America with his mother. His father Godwin died on 6th October 1886. Craig had inherited his father’s ability and sense of dedication to his work, although as they had not seen one another during Craig’s boyhood, his artistic development owed nothing to his father’s influence. Craig had not liked school. His preparatory school had been Southfield Park where he only acquired a taste for comic verse. Later on he went to Bradfield College, which was no more popular with him, and then he went to Heidelberg in Germany for several month to learn german.
  3. 3. Biography In 1889 Craig considered is real training for life began, his ‘apprenticeship’ under Sir Henry Irving at the Lyceum Theatre. But it’s only to years later, in 1899 that Craig ceased to be actor and start devoted his time to engraving and drawing and also began the production of Dido and Aeneas. In 1893 he moved to Uxbridge at Denham where he found that his neighbours were William Nicholson and Nicholson's brother-in-law, James Pride. It was then that he caught on to the woodcut idea. At this time Craig did more than learn how to become a proficient wood-engraver. No longer confused, he discovered himself as a graphic artist and began to see his self a head more clearly. In August 1894 he joined a provincial company at Hereford. Craig very early on his life set himself a plan of study, a course of self-instruction. He received assistance from his friendship with Sir William Rothenstein, Nicholson and James Pryde. After 1900 when he began to define his own attitude to the theatre Craig found himself in the forefront of the struggle against realism. When he was in Germany with Isadora Duncan in 1905 he found this concept of the ‘Uber- marionette’. Two years later the idea became fully developed and his experiments started. Over the years Craig have been accomplishing a lot of different things in several areas, he published many books and his wood cuts, he established a school in Italy, and upon all of this he designed a considerable number of plays. Among his notable productions were The Vikings and Much ado about nothing (both in 1903 for Ellen Terry) and Hamlet (with the Moscow art theatre in 1912). At Florence, Italy, he founded (1913) the Gordon Craig school for Art of the Theatre; he also edited a magazine, The Mask (1908-29). He wrote On the Art of Theatre (1911), The Theatre Advancing (1921), Scene (1923), and biographies of Henry Irving (1930) and Ellen Terry (1931).
  4. 4. Bibliography Bablet, D. The Theatre of Edward Gordon Craig, Eyre Methuen, London, 1981.  Brockett, O. History of the Theatre, Allyn and Bacon, Boston, 1994.  Craig, E.G. On the Art of the Theatre, Methuen, London, 1911.  Innes, Christopher. 1983. Edward Gordon Craig. Directors in Perspective ser. Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521273838. Johnston, M. Directing Methods, Singleton Press, San Paolo, 1972.  Leiter, S.L. The Great Stage Directors, Facts on File, New York, 1994.  Taxidou, Olga. 1998. The Mask: A Periodical Performance by Edward Gordon Craig.  Contemporary Theatre Studies ser. volume 30. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers. ISBN 90575504 Walton, J.M. Craig on Theatre, Methuen, London, 1983.  Wills, R. The Director in a Changing Theatre, Mayfield, Palo Alto, 1976.  Arnott, Brian. Edward Gordon Craig & Hamlet. Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 1975.  ‘Edward Gordon Craig and ‘The Pretenders’; A Production Revised’ by Frederick J. Marker  and Lise-Lone Marker, Southern Iooinois University Press, 1981 ‘Edward Gordon Craig; A Vision of Theatre’, Christopher Innes, 1998, Routledge 
  5. 5. Bibliography Bablet, Denis. Edward Gordon Craig. Trans. Daphne Woodward. NY: Theatre Arts Books,  1966. Craig, Edward Gordon. Index to the Story of My Days. London: Hulton Press, 1957.  Craig, Edward. Gordon Craig: The Story of His Life. NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1968.  Eynat-Confino, Irène. Beyond the Mask: Gordon Craig, Movement, and the Actor.  Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1987. Franklin, Colin. Fond of Printing: Gordon Craig as Typographer & Illustrator. NY: The  Typophiles, 1980. Innes, Christopher. Edward Gordon Craig. Cambridge & NY: CUP, 1983.  Leeper, Janet. Edward Gordon Craig: Designs for the Theatre. Middlesex, Eng.: Penguin  (King Penguin Book), 1948. Marotti, Ferruccio. Gordon Craig. Bologna: Cappelli, 1961.  Adlard, Eleanor. Edy: Recollections of Edith Craig. London: Frederick Muller, 1949. See also  sources under Terry, Ellen. Forbes-Robertson, Sir Johnston. A Player Under Three Reigns. Boston: Little, Brown, 1925.  ‘Craig on Theatre’ Edited by J. Michael Walton, Methuen, 1983  For further reading see: Fletcher, Ifan Kyle and Arnold Rood. Edward Gordon Craig: A  Bibliography. London: STR, 1967.
  6. 6. Ideas/Practices Edward Gordon Craig intensively researched theatre of the past in order to create his 'new' theatre. He  envisaged theatre which was a fusion of poetry, performer, colour and movement designed to appeal to the emotions based on visual suggestion, evocation and symbolic representation rather than a reproduction of reality. He saw the need for an antidote to the phenomenon of Naturalism and the true to life representations so he designed and created scenic environments which were more about atmosphere than locality with a strong sense of mood. The term theatre is derived from the Greek 'to see' not hear and Craig strongly believed in visual theatre. Edward Gordon Craig has written many texts based on his ideas and innovations along with  biographies including one of Henry Irving, whom was a great influence to Craig, and one of his mother, Ellen Terry whom Craig never forgave for not having Irving as a father. Irving was idolised by Craig and he had a great effect on his work. Some of Craig's strongest writings were his innovative ideas on stage design, masks, marionettes and lighting. Being a graphic artist and engraver Craig came easily to appreciate the pedigree and virtue of mask and puppet. His writings today are only old in the sense of vocabulary, his ideas are as fresh as ever. Masks  'A Note on Masks' was written by Craig in 1910 and it puts forward the idea of a mask being the  paramount weapon of dramatic expression. Craig expresses that drama is not trivial, it takes us beyond reality and yet asks for a human face, the realist of things, to express all that. Masks carry conviction and becomes part of the actor who is wearing it. O'Neill, Brecht and Shaffer have been among those who have shown new ways in which the mask can regain a place of honour within the 20th century.
  7. 7. Ideas/Practices Marionettes  'Gentlemen, the marionette' is a writing in which Craig celebrates the string puppet. Craig had a  great interest in marionettes believing they are the only true actors who have the soul of the dramatic poet, serving as a true and loyal interpreter with the virtues of silence and obedience. After the Great War, Craig founded a magazine, 'The Marionette' which contained a text of puppet plays he had written which further indulged his interest in puppets. Lighting  In terms of lighting Craig was certainly among the first to recognise the potential of electric light,  which was a new direction for theatre at the turn of the century. Craig shared and promoted similar ideas on the use of light and stage space as Adolph Appia without actually meeting one another until 1914. Craig's innovation in lighting and design were admired by critics and radical artists but sometimes were too complex to execute. Movement  Craig, following his symbolist views, used movement to create mood and in his studies in 1906 he  talked of removing elements of set/props and replacing them with symbolic gestures. For example, a man battling through a snowstorm. Craig questioned whether the snow was necessary. Would the movements made by the actor be sufficient to suggest a man battling the elements?
  8. 8. Influences It is obvious that Craig had a lots of different influences trough his life as a  designer, actor and writer. First we can point out his research in the galleries in London and later Florence and in other parts of Europe which instructed him in the work of Sebastiano Serlio and others Italian painters and architects. His many visits to the National Gallery also taught him to appreciate the works of Duccio and the early renaissance painters. In England, Tudor scholarship had prompted William Poel’s Shakespearean reforms but the inspiration for Craig more far-reaching and broader based ideas derived from the simple beauty of early Italian art and the study of the movement, colour and light. Craig’s conception of theatre was stimulated not only by the European past but also by the Fare East, especially the Japanese theatre. This influence can be claimed in particular fir his endeavours to devise an aesthetic in which all the arts combined on stage to create a ‘total’ theatre and in his emphasis on dance and colour symbolism.
  9. 9. Impact In 1900 after Craig had developed as a set designer and director he worked with a musician, Martin Shaw on a production of Dido and Aeneas that was groundbreaking in its approach to stage design. Due to space limitations Craig was able to depart from the elaborate, realist traditions of Victorian stagecraft and experiment with simper abstract stage design. His theories on production heralded the 20th century's preoccupation with directors' theatre but he was to have more effect in Europe than in the UK. Craig himself said in 1908 that his work would not come into its own until the years 1960 to 2000, he was right and it wasn't until the 1950's that his influence was to have a substantial effect on theatre design in this country. In 1956, Kenneth Tynan wrote of Craig 'Although he is eighty-four years old and has published little for a quarter of a century, Gordon Craig is still several lengths ahead of the theatrical avant-garde. Ideas that he expounded fifty years ago, in his breathless poetic prose, are nowadays bearing fruit all over Europe.' Over the years Craig's ideas have influenced such diverse practitioners as Stanislavsky, Reinhardt, Meyerhold and Brecht and to this day they still have great impact on so many designers and practitioners .
  10. 10. Problems Like his friend and collaborator, Stanislavski, Craig was intent on capturing ‘pure  emotion’ in the plays on which he worked, which of course is a challenge to any accomplished actor. Presenting real emotion onstage is one of the more demanding feats of performance, and often if not done well will lead to poor quality melodrama. Also, his fondess for realism gives little room for exploration beyond the plays set  narratives and ideas. Although at the time theatre of this quality was rare and thefore highly acclaimed, today the collaboratos of the theatre world are often seeking something more. The ‘illusion’ is becoming less essential, and theatre’s evolution is leading to ideas such as direct communication with your audience, abstraction, expressionism and exploration. Theatre today is not always about the story, and Craig’s ideas would be constricting for the creative processes that are developing now through many companies. In terms of theatre design Craig’s ideas were often overly zealous, such as his  complicated lighting ideas, and the concept of moving scenery. With the technologies available at the time these were often difficult to implicate. Supported by instances such as this it is clear that is mind was often ahead of his times.
  11. 11. What impact do these ideas have upon your own thinking about theatre? As students studying Theatrical Design we felt that Craig’s work was a good example of how the boudaries can be pushed in the field. Although many of his ideas were difficult to implicate they were fresh and original, and could motivate our own approach. In terms of performance we agreed that the idea of the marionette was an intriguing one. As we have already seen in this course, objects can say things sometimes that people cannot.
  12. 12. Sources http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Gordon_Craig#Further_reading  http://www.victorianweb.org/mt/craig.html  ‘Craig on Theatre’ Edited by J. Michael Walton, Methuen, 1983  ‘Edward Gordon Craig and ‘The Pretenders’; A Production Revised’ by Frederick J.  Marker and Lise-Lone Marker, Southern Iooinois University Press, 1981 ‘Edward Gordon Craig; A Vision of Theatre’, Christopher Innes, 1998, Routledge  Craig on Theatre edited by J.Micheal Walton  The Black Figures of Edward Gordon Craig, With an unpublished essay by Edward Gordon  Craig, Presented with Introduction and Documentation by L.M.Newman  www.perspicacity.goose24.org/20033152323.shtml  www.citycol.com/perfdesn/Appia%20and%20Craig.htm  www.peopleplayuk.org.uk  Index to the story of my days, Edward Gordon Craig  Edward Gordon Craig, Victoria and Albert Museum by George Nash 