chapter  4
Colour and Composition
WithPamela Howard, Pavel Drábek
Pages 28

Colour and composition are the crux of the scenographer’s art. When the text has been researched and the playing space is known, the next challenge for the scenographer is to compose and colour the playing space, with figures and forms creating a visual envelope for the performance. In the theatre, the spectator is static, and the stage is constantly changing its visual images through a combination of colour and composition. The use of colour within a pictorial composition is like a composer’s choice of musical scale. Colour guides the viewer’s eye to the focal point and meaning of a composition through careful placing within a space, or frame. Edvard Munch, in his painting The Dance of Life, employed a highly charged and emotive use of colour to depict the drama of the subject. The colour range is very limited, giving a sombre and uniquely Nordic atmosphere.