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My group and I decided to do our project on Pygmalion by Bernard Shaw. I chose to be the scene designer. This paper will discuss my process in designing the scene for the Act (scene) we are focusing on. My group decided to focus on Act 4 of Pygmalion because there were several other scene changes in the play and because this act is one of the main points of the play. I will also be discussing what I found in my research for Pygmalion. Now can you guess what the first thing I did for this project?
The very first thing I did for Pygmalion was read the script! (Joe always in class made sure this was the first step). When I finished reading the play, I then drew a very quick rough sketch of what came into my mind when I read Act 4. Then I met with my group and we decided that the main theme or spine of the play was about how people were using each other. Eliza was using Higgins to get up in the world and Higgins and Pickering were using her to win a bet. It was also decided that another theme of the play was about how we view people initially is how we keep on seeing them. Higgins saw Eliza as a flower girl, so that’s what she always will be to him. Pickering on the other hand saw her a lady, so she will always be a lady to him. With this in mind, I began to do some research to improve my design for Pygmalion.
After discovering what the spine was of the play, I looked for elements that would help me tie the design in with the spine. Now Pygmalion was written in 1913. This is also that same period the play takes place in. It takes place in London, England. During 1913 London was a time of Industrial Revolution. There was also the women’s suffrage movement, which the author Bernard Shaw may have implanted and shown how women were treated back then. The Industrial Revolution bought wealth and cars to much of England. This caused a class system of the rich and the poor, which Shaw may also have been making a statement about. So I decided to implement high class items into my scene design. Also, in the play, when Higgins enters the room, he throws his coat on the newspaper stand without a care, while Pickering hesitates when he does it. This can show that Higgins doesn’t care when he uses Eliza, and Pickering at least cares a little bit. So my design will dress up the newspaper stand and have more of a showcase to show how they are using it for chores, just like they did Eliza. I then defined what the design demands or (what the play specially calls for) of Pygmalion were. I then researched pattern design styles of chairs of the time period because in the play Higgins and Pickering are sitting on chairs and talking. Eliza is also sitting on a piano bench. There is also mention of a mantle piece. So these items I definitely needed. These were what the design demands were for the scene. I then drew a second better design from these ideas. Then I gathered pictures from the time period of the items I needed to make a third and final design. I then transferred that design to a model of what my scene will look like. This is how I designed the scene for Act 4 of Pygmalion. I implemented items from the time period and items that went with the spine of the play.
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