It was the experience of working without the need for designers and design, during a minimalist phase in theatre, that led this director to muse upon his learnings on design. While the focus is on sets and costumes, there are lessons on minimalism and elegance that, imho, are worth considering in all fields of design.
Here are two snippets to encourage you to read the whole:
I miss designers. I love collaborating with them, but for the past few years, I've directed exclusively for a theatre company that performs on a bare stage without sets, props or lighting changes; costumes are street clothes, and there are no costume changes. Paradoxically, this approach has suggested to me new and better ways of working with designers.
Just like actors (and directors), designers can be easily hoodwinked by redundancy, especially when designing from a spine. Yes, the spine is what the play is "about," but do all design elements need to be constant reminders of this theme? Were I in that audience seeing back and white costumes and checker squares on the floor, I'd be jumping up and down on my seat, screaming, "Okay! Okay! I get it already!"
Rule: each element of the production should only convey information if that information isn't already conveyed by some other part.
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