Day 4 on the Design Direct Course

I keep finding myself all day writing, in my notebook, notes like:

There is no one answer!
“there are NO RULES”

Whilst at the same time madly looking for the right way to approach this design, the one answer, the internal rules to govern this production.

At the end of yesterday’s session, I felt like we’d solved it; I’d had some great poetic conversations with Anna [the director I’m working with], and we’d made a fascinating breakdown of the layers of the world of the play. I’d sketched and imagined how all these ingredients would be set neatly against each other, and in my mind I was ready to build the set. But after our tutorial this morning, everything dissolved again. I love that moment, when I’ve built a whole world in sketches and notes, almost solidified it, when an alternative approach is suggested which releases everything I thought I’d fixed from their positions, and everything goes fluid.

So there is something still waiting to be ‘got’. My mind is running through continuous concepts and variations, I’m finding it hard to switch off. It feels like I’ve set myself on a treasure hunt, to extract something from the clues contained in our research, our evolving shared vision, the text and the space of the Bush Theatre. I’m getting captivated by this search for the design that ‘fits’, ‘sings’, ‘glows’, ‘feels right’, ‘sits right’, releases the text, enables my partner Anna to visualise the space and imagine inhabiting it.

Tomorrow my task is to make. I’ll be cutting and folding with acetate, perspex, mirror, tissue paper, torches, tape and thread to help us distil the elements we need, and start creating positions, locations, and relationships within our scale model. But first I have to find a way of pressing PAUSE on the treasure hunt so I can get to sleep.

Bethany Wells – Designer


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