Scenography in Action : Space, Time and Movement in Theatre Productions by Ingmar Bergman

Abstract: Developments in technology and new aesthetic idioms in the past decades have changed the preconditions for the scenographer’s work in the theatre. Therefore, it has become problematic indeed to describe scenography as the sum of costume and set, although this continues to be the common definition of the concept. This study focuses on the interaction of different features in a theatre performance, such as scenography, actors, light and sound. The aim is to show that scenography, as opposed to set and costume, cannot be separated from the live performance, i.e. the context for which it is created.By investigating scenography from the parameters space, time, and movement, the thesis demonstrates that the art is anything but stable. On the contrary, it continuously changes shape, size, and appearance. The actors in particular play an important role in the organization of the space, thus exposing the instability of scenography in action.The analytical chapters in the thesis discuss four different movements, or transformations, in scenography, appearing in eight theatre productions staged by Swedish director Ingmar Bergman between 1984 and 1998. The first chapter, "Expansion," discusses how scenography incorporates new spaces, either through the actors’ movements or by quoting architectonic details from other parts of the theatre building. "Revolution" shows different ways of revolving scenography without the aid of technical devises such as the revolve stage. "Perforation," the third chapter, analyses the effects of a perforated set and its consequences for the spectators’ apprehension of scenography. The last chapter, "Metamorphoses," highlights actions that undermine the definition of some central concepts in performance, such as “performers,” “props,” and “spectators,” all of which are intertwined in the analysed productions.A concluding part of the dissertation elaborates on the effects of these movements and transformations in scenography, in particular as related to the physical and mental relationship between actor and audience.