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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Set Design for the Adaptation of Jane Austen's "Emma"
by Rushbrook, Jonathan Paul, M.F.A., The George Washington University, 2013, 50; 1537997
Abstract (Summary)

Jane Austen’s Emma as adapted by Michael Bloom was staged at the George Washington University in the spring semester of 2013. Under the direction of Alan Wade, it opened on March 28th in the Dorothy Betts Marvin Center Theatre on the George Washington University campus in Washington DC. The lighting designer was Eva Gonzàlez and the costumes designer was Basmah Alomar.

This thesis opens by discussing the overall mission, which for this project was to design and create a set for Emma while dealing with a department with fluctuating levels of staffing. Additionally discussed are two major logistic difficulties: the first relates to the problem of working with a non-permanent Technical Director who has less experience operating within GWU’s educational system and organizational culture; the second discusses the lack of an Assistant Technical Director to work with closely leading to the build process, and how this affected the design development.

Chapter two explores the life of Jane Austen, as well as the narrative structure of the novel and Michael Bloom’s adaption. These are important as they show a background to the author as well as how she wrote in a variable narrative structure, and subsequently how Bloom adopted this irregular structure using theatrical elements such as the aside and the use of the main protagonists’ – and in the novel, Austen’s thoughts – to tell the story of Emma.

Chapter three discusses the geopolitical overview of the time in which Austen lived. This is important because her life took place within a rapidly changing global atmosphere, beginning with American Revolution and ending with the finale of the Napoleonic Wars. This chapter also focuses on the Regency period and how the changing world affected interior and architectural design in England and subsequently around the world.

Chapter four and five follow the design from concept to completion and explores the need for effective communication as being key to any successful design.

Finally, the analysis chapter explores the problems faced during the process as and discusses how they may have been avoided and/or mitigated. This specifically focuses on the problems that a changing educational department can have on a design and the design process.

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Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gudenius, Carl F.
Commitee: Johannesdottir, Sigrid, Morris, Russell
School: The George Washington University
Department: Theatre and Dance
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: MAI 51/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Design, Theater
Keywords: Design, Theatre
Publication Number: 1537997
ISBN: 978-1-303-10423-7
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