Designing the Text

Wedekind’s Spring Awakening


  1. Which design appeals to you most? Why? Which one doesn’t appeal? Why?
  2. Does any particular design have noticeably high (or low) “production values”?
  3. Which design might answer best the staging “problems” presented by the text?

Design Elements

Text Analysis for the Stage Designer   SOURCE

Example of a Design Concept Statement

August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson is a play about legacies and ghosts of the past. It is about family, land, and finding out what matters most in life. The conflict of the play is over the fate of the piano in Berniece’s living room – a family heirloom. The play cannot end until Berniece and her brother, Boy Willie, unite to exorcise their family’s slavehood past. The play cannot end until Berniece plays the piano, and Boy Willie no longer wants to sell it – both characters thereby embracing their family’s legacy to them.

The design of the play must address the geography and socioeconomic givens of the play’s setting. It takes place in Berniece’s home, in a northern city, during the Depression. The piano is as much a character in the play as any person in it; and Berneice’s home must have a staircase – both to show her home is not a hovel, and to accommodate the play’s climax: the visitation by Sutter’s ghost.

While working-class, the characters must also convey a range of differences within the African-American community. There must be clear distinctions in type of character: “city” characters and “country” characters from Mississippi ; serious and comic characters; moral and amoral; employed and unemployed – without falling into two-dimensional stereotypes.

The play feels eerie, tempestuous, and full of sharp contrasts; it feels like a haunted merry-go-‘round. The visual solution should therefore be crunchy, pieced-apart, and full of movement; it should appear mysterious and ordinary, comfortable and incomplete.


  1. Does this concept statement provide enough information for the director and production team?
  2. Is there anything overlooked that needs to go in this statement?
  3. Is there anything that has less relevance or value that could be edited out?