Design of Setting and Costumes for Symphonic Variations

Nolan, Sylvia
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
And now, after the fact, comes this "in writing" exploration of set and costume designs for "Symphonic Variations," opening piece in the Spring 1969 dance concert. It is a perusal of the de­ sign considerations from almost instinctive visionary origins to the construction in wood and nylon net for actual performance. While I could jot myself a note or two as the setting was being developed, the dynamic process that design is, it did not lend to a fixed transcription in the written word. To encompass or sum up the designs still in progress, in "becoming", was in effect to par­ alyze creativity, a process perpetually in flux. And so now, after the fact comes the examination. This is too late perhaps for al­ terations to be made, but late enough for the design to have been realized. To have begun with this paper, less the plans of the ac­ tual design, probably would not have lead to this design. Moreover, at no point in the designing could I have foretold the sum of effects of the "beast" I was creating. The inerplay of external discipline and the capricious creativity of the unconscious is induced rather than inferred from a direction sheet. So now that creativity has had its run in net and wood, I search out the instinctive rational of the unconscious impulses brought into contact with their practical real­ ization. This paper itself becomes a curious bird of the species­ --part critique, part rationalization, part dream-fiction, part documentary.
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