Also known as a “concept statement”
• Be clear and concise. Keep your design statement to a page or less.
• Check your work for spelling, punctuation, and grammar. At all costs avoid misspelling the title of the play and the playwright’s name!
• State WHAT has to be accomplished. State the obvious briefly – the given circumstances of the play; outline of the plot; production objectives from the director; the type of space in which the play will be produced.
• Explain WHY you made these design decisions. These are often less obvious, and more subjective, but are essential to articulate –they should relate to the emotional and evocative content of the play and outline the logic of your visual objectives (which could include overall mood, period style, and so on).
• Describe HOW you will accomplish your design. These details may well be incorporated in “why”, but be sure to address how your design objectives translate into actual visual choices (line, shape, texture, and so on).
Two sample design statements follow; they are guidelines rather than finite templates. Your statement need not comply with either sample’s format exactly: as long as you include the basic components that define – and logically explain – your design approach, you may compose your statement in any fashion that works for you.
For THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, by Alexandre Dumas
1. The action of the play
Edmond Dantès (alias the Count of Monte Cristo) has two goals--to reward those who were kind to him and his aging father, and to punish those responsible for his imprisonment for a crime he did not commit. Through the action of the play, Monte Cristo ingeniously plans and carries out slow and painful punishment for those responsible for his having spent fourteen years barely subsisting in the horrible dungeon of the Chateau d’If.
2. Thematic conclusion
a. Vengeance, while perhaps a mortal emotion, is better placed in the care of divine intervention--as stated in the line: “Tell the angel who will watch over your life to pray now and then for a man who, like Satan, believed himself for an instant to be equal to God, but who realizes in all humility that supreme power and wisdom are in the hands of God alone.”
b. Only a man who has felt ultimate despair is capable of feeling ultimate bliss. In addition, for man to remain happy, he must do two things: wait and hope. (Note: this truly is a romantic notion as Dantès sails off into the sunset--literally.)
3. Production Objectives (from the Director)
a. Using the genre Romanticism, to tell the story of one man (Edmond Dantès) with believable, well rounded characterizations.
b. To underline the theme--vengeance is inappropriate in the hands of man. It is an instrument intended for God alone.
4. Design Objectives
a. To support the play through careful interpretation of the genre Romanticism. To this end, to show that the story is not merely an adventure but really one of intrigue and mystery.
b. Emphasize romantic embodiments, such as: the return to nature; love of the past (especially the medieval); the concept of honor and nobility; an infatuation with the grotesque and unreal (hence the extensive use of light and shadow); and, arduous sentimentality.
c. To create the “world of the play” as a dark, brooding environment made up of a series of arches and levels.
5. Translation of the design objectives into visual and graphic terms
a. Line: Various, reflective of early romantic period. Emphasis on the graceful, elegant yet moody architectural curves found in the early 16th and 17th Centuries--especially Baroque. Hint of even earlier medieval (13th Century) arches. Tall, overwhelming archways, with emphasis on grand proportion. Further suggestion of the power in refinement through simplification.
b. Color: Dark, moody black to blue, with ochre and golden highlights. Emphasis upon the dark…