Naturalism versus Symbolism: The ideas of Appia, Craig and Wieland Wagner
Stage Design and Lighting as a Unifying Medium in 20th Century Theatre

Further Thoughts on 'Mise en Scene' and the ideas of Appia, Wagner and Craig

Appia and Craig, working independently of each other, laid the foundation of modern non-illusionistic theatre practice. But in order to put their work into context we must consider Symbolism and how it relates to a wider phenomenon, that of Modernism.

Naturalism and Symbolism are both a reaction against pictorial realism. There is a perspective held by a number of writers that Symbolism is reaction to Naturalism, which is not really the case. They are both reacting to the same thing in different ways. They may disagree with each other's responses (Gorelik would have us believe this) but even that is not that simple. Antoine preparing The Wild Duck in 1890: 'Just as I have opened my doors wide to the Naturalist drama, so I shall open them wide to the Symbolist drama, provided it is drama.' (Gorelik p.182). Stanislavsky attempted to stage a play by Maeterlinck (unsuccessfully) and invited Craig to work with him on Hamlet. Otto Brahm also invited Craig to work in Berlin.


So what was different about the Symbolist's reaction against pictorial realism'

Following the lead of Impressionists, Cubists and early Surrealist painters (Seurat, Cézanne and Henri Rousseau), Symbolists wanted to look beneath surface reality - to rediscover the mysterious, visionary and poetic aspects of life which Naturalism was threatening to lose. For the Symbolist, spirituality and mysterious internal and external forces were the source of a truth more profound than that derived from the mere observation of outward appearance. This truth for them is elusive and subjective. It cannot be represented directly or discovered through the five senses. It is beyond objective examination - it cannot be expressed directly or through rational means, it can only be hinted at through a network of symbols evoking feelings and states of mind.

For the Symbolists theatre becomes a metaphysical almost religious experience. Maeterlinck wishes to 'express the inexpressible.' (Styan, paraphrasing Maeterlinck, argues - 'the poet's task was to reveal the mysterious and invisible qualities of life, its grandeur and its misery, which have nothing to do with realism. If we stay on a realistic level, we remain ignorant of the eternal world, and therefore of the true meaning of existence and destiny, of life and death. The poet must deal with what is unseen, superhuman and infinite.'

Styan's description of one of Maeterlinck's early 'puppet' plays gives us a clear sense of how he set about this task: 'The scene for Les Aveugles [The Blind] an island, and there we see 'a very ancient forest, eternal of aspect, beneath a sky profoundly starred'.

'On the stage sit six blind old men and, facing them, six blind women, one with a child. The child can see, but it cannot speak. All are waiting for some godly person to come and be their guide. Unhappily, the priest they wait for is there among them already, although he is dead: 'His head and the upper part of his body, slightly thrown back and mortally still, are leaning against the bole of an oak tree, huge and cavernous. His face is fearfully pale and of an inalterable waxen lividity; his violet lips are parted. His eyes, dumb and fixed, no longer gaze at the visible side of eternity, and seem bleeding beneath a multitude of im-memorial sorrows and of tears ...'(translated Laurence Alma Tadema).

So they sit, wrapped in the shadows of 'great funereal trees, yews, weeping willows, cypresses'.

'FIRST BLIND MAN. Is he not coming yet?
SECOND BLIND MAN. You have waked me!
FIRST BLIND MAN. I was asleep too.
THIRD BLIND MAN. I was asleep too.
FIRST BLIND MAN. Is he not coming yet?
SECOND BLIND MAN. I hear nothing coming.
THIRD BLIND MAN. It must be about time to go back to the asylum.'

Symbolism as a movement begins in poetry (mid nineteenth century with the poets Baudelaire, Verlaine and Rimbaud) where it had always existed. A verbal symbol in poetry is intended to evoke feeling and ideas greater than those the words usually stand for, suggesting a meaning beyond the immediate and concrete reality. Symbolist Poetry took this further. It rejected the laws of logic in favour of those of hallucination and the surreal so that it should stay pure and free from social relevance.

There is a kind of inevitability that this way of thinking about expression would find it was into the theatre as symbolism is as natural to theatre as it is to poetry; on stage an object or a situation has always suggested feelings or ideas which are bigger than itself.

In terms of subject matter the plays were allegorical, dramatic action was less important than its symbolic meaning, set in a world of myths, legends and fantasy. They did not engage with social problems or the relationship between man and his environment. Symbolists were fiercely apolitical. They aimed to suggest a universal truth which is independent of time and place.

The most influential independent symbolist theatre was the Théâtre de l'Oeuvre founded in Paris in 1893 by Lugné-Poë. It opened with Maeterlinck's Pelléas and Mélisande in which a young woman marries a prince, who finds her in a forest, but falls in love with his brother. She dies of grief when her husband kills his brother. Interest is not in the triangular relationship but in the mood of mystery which envelops it, evoked through symbols: a wedding ring dropped into a fountain, doves that fly from a tower, a bloodstain which cannot be removed.

Contemporaries described the production as the scenery of a dream world, painted backcloths in tones of grey represented the vast, archaic hall and the thick forest. There were few props and little furniture. The overhead lighting made time and place indefinite and much of the action took place in semi-darkness. The actors wore vaguely medieval costumes but there was no attempt towards historical authenticity. They moved like sleepwalkers, with gesture simplified to slow movements of hands, and spoke in a staccato chant, broken by hesitation and repetition. The audience viewed the performance through a gauze stretched across the proscenium as if through the mists of time.  (A device used in the Ayr Intimate Opera production of Hansel and Gretel at the Pavilion in 1983.)

This is typical of the style of production at the Théâtre de l'Oeuvre. The most important aspect of the production was the creation of mood and atmosphere. As this style developed the backdrops became increasingly vague and devoid of detail sometimes reduced to simple compositions of line and colour. Colour was always chosen for mood value rather than representational accuracy.

Like the Naturalists, the Symbolists had to create their own independent theatres. The established theatre were even less inclined to produce Symbolism than Naturalism and establishment critics were even more hostile to their work than they were to the Naturalists. In this form the movement was relative short lived. The Théâtre de l'Oeuvre closed in 1898, Lugné-Poë having rejected this way of working as too extreme and limiting, particularly in terms of text. Lugné-Poë wanted to work with the form of Symbolism Ibsen and Stringberg were using in their writing but found it impossible in these staging conventions.


The simultaneous existence of movements like Symbolism and Naturalism based on different sets of premises about the nature of truth and the world in which we live and using a different set of conventions to portray this truth on stage is very much a twentieth century phenomenon. Whilst Symbolism is an alternative reaction to the same impulses that led to naturalism. It represents the shaking off of an idea which has dominated theatrical presentation since the renaissance, that the aim of theatre is to represent human behaviour and the physical world in the way in which it is normally perceived.

It represents the beginnings of a series of movements that instead presents a subjective vision, freeing the audience from the need to compare the subject with its artistic representation. This rejection of the relationship between perception and representation can be seen as once of the factors which indicate the beginning of Modernism. This is a term which draws together a number of different factors present in all art forms towards the end of the nineteenth century and used by some to describe art works and movements right up to the mid-60s.

Modernism also represents a change in focus from content to form. No longer shackled to representation, works of art could be valued for their novelty and experimentation with form and artists for their imaginative perception and innovation rather than accurate renditions of recognisable subjects. This leads ultimately to abstraction where painting is judged by its formal criterion, line, colour, composition etc. Equally in terms of music, time and atonal relationships become more important than melody and harmony.


Before finally getting to Appia and Craig there is one last nineteenth century figure we need to consider: Richard Wagner (1813-1883). The theories of the Symbolists have much in common with the ideas already put forward in Wagner's The Art Work of the Future (1849). Although Wagner never speaks of Symbolism directly, his operas (music dramas) built upon archetype, myth, dream and supernatural and mythical elements anticipate the subject matter and aesthetic of Symbolism.

Wagner wished for a renewal of drama, he wished theatre to be a festive event of great spiritual value like the festivals of 5th century BC Athens. He saw the dramatist is not as a recorder of domestic affairs but as a mythmaker portraying an ideal world in which action is the expression of inner feelings, impulses and aspirations. This is best illustrated by the four operas which make up The Ring of Niebelungen which takes place in a world of gods, supermen, giants, dragons and other mythical creatures.

Wagner put forward an ideal of Gesamtkunstwerk - 'total art work' - all arts (dramatic, literary, musical and visual) united in performance, he suggested drama should be 'dipped in the magic fountain of music'. For Wagner, music drama was the performance of the future. Drama appealed to the senses (we learn and know in the theatre through feeling) but the deepest human feeling could only be realised through music. Poetry and music combined to 'emotionalise the intellect' presenting a full emotional and spiritual experience on stage, a drama which expresses 'our inner-most being'.

Musically Wagner's operas were radically different to what had gone before, but his staging remained literal and pictorial. The visual elements of his theatre were not unified with the poetic and musical elements. It was Adolphe Appia (1862-1928) who set himself the task of addressing this problem [leading  eventually to the symbolist conceptions of grandson, Wieland Wagner in the 'New Bayreuth' established in 1951.]

Adolphe Appia

Although we can see much in common between his work and staging at the Théâtre de l'Oeuvre, Appia gained his inspiration from the ideas and the operas of Wagner. Appia gained his scenic inspiration from music; the tone, rhythm and melody of Wagner's music determined the form of stage setting, movement of actors and movement of light in the production, creating a visual symbolism which expresses the inner qualities of the play rather than realistically representing an environment. The inspiration is music because it is emotional and not factual. Appia wanted to create a visual equivalent of Wagner's music.

His scenic environment, freed from the necessity of providing representational background for action, becomes a visualisation of the mood and atmosphere of the text, which is completed in the imagination of the spectator. An embodiment of emotion through form, colour and texture. Our attention is drawn to the three dimensional nature of the stage space by an asymmetrical composition of geometric forms whose shapes and proportions are dictated by Appia's interpretation of the music. The actor adds another sculptural elements to the space; becomes a kind of sculptural figure. In his later work Appia suggests an acting style which, in its rhythmic movement and gesture, is more like dance than portrayal of character. But for Appia, unlike Craig as we shall see, the human figure of the actor is still the centre of the theatrical event.

Whilst the setting is not literal, it is designed to reflect the atmosphere of the environment as the character perceives it, therefore the scenic environment is still focusing attention onto the actor. Appia illustrates this when describing his staging of Siegfried: 'we need not try to represent a forest; what we must give the spectator is man in the atmosphere of a forest'. This means that, for Appia, the focus of the scenic design is where the actor is (the floor) not in mid-air (the perspective vanishing point for the scenic artist). The floor becomes an abstract sculptural form of its own which the audience are made aware of through the movement of the actors.

But he also wished to realise Wagner's ideal of a complete unification of all the elements of theatre. He identified four elements of scenic design - vertical painted scenery, horizontal floor, moving actors and light. Design for Appia was about unifying these elements in a way in which they had not been unified before: 'So long as the emphasis is on painted decoration, the inanimate picture is no more than a coloured illustration into which the text, animated by the actor, is brought.' The two collide, they never meet nor establish any interaction of the slightest dramatic value, whereas, in Appia's phrase, they should be fused. The actor is three dimensional therefore the environment they inhabit must be three dimensional to be consistent with them.

For Appia it was light which had the ability to unify all the three dimensional forms in the scenic environment, both the static and the mobile. He also recognised for the first time the potential flexibility and fluidity of light, which gave it the same opportunity for evoking emotion as music: 'As music releases the mood of a scene, projecting the deepest emotional meaning of an event as well as its apparent action, so the fluctuating intensities of light can transfigure an object and clothe it with all its emotional implications.

Appia saw the potential for stage lighting to relate fundamentally to every movement an actor makes. It can move with the actor following the shifting dramatic emphasis with rapid or subtle changes in colour and intensity - any portion of the setting can be brought forward or wiped out as its dramatic importance in the scene increases or diminishes. In this way Appia outlined a use of light in which it is orchestrated and manipulated like a music score.

Although the idea of lighting for mood dates back to the Italian renaissance and Irving, Meiningen and Antoine had already experimented with light and shadow to create mood quality and visual effect. Appia was the first to work out a complete theory of stage lighting as a fluid and flexible interpretative medium. He distinguishes between light that is empty (diffuse) which makes things visible and concentrated light that strikes an object in a way that defines form. The defuse lighting he said created blank visibility in which the audience recognises objects without emotion. But a light used for modelling give sculptural quality, carves an object out of light and shade before our eyes, arousing us emotionally, giving forms new force and meaning.

This is the light which is important in the theatre: 'Light is the most important plastic medium on the stage . . . Without its unifying power our eyes would be able to perceive what objects were but not what they expressed...What can give us this sublime unity which is capable of uplifting us? Light!...Light and light alone, quite apart from its subsidiary importance in lighting a dark stage, has the greatest plastic power, for it is subject to a minimum of conventions and so is enable to reveal vividly in its most expressive form the eternally fluctuating appearance of a phenomenal world.'

In order to realise these ideas Appia created an entirely new system of lighting, which replaced the traditional footlights and wing and batten lights. Electricity enabled Appia's ideas to be practicable because it enabled all lighting to be easily controlled from a central point and the creation of movable lighting instruments in a form that we would recognise today. But when he was first writing only electric battens and carbon arc or limelight were available to him. By the time he was able to stage his Wagner operas in the 1920s much more of this technology was available.

His two major works: The Staging of Wagnerian Music Drama (1895) and Music and Stage Setting (sometimes translated as Music and the Art of Theatre) (1899) were written quite early in his career. Music Stage and Setting contains 18 illustrations of projected settings for Wagner's operas. Simonson said it was his drawings rather than the writings which have influenced practitioners and it is certainly true that it is his theories which have influenced modern theatre rather than his practice because he was offered so few opportunities to try them out.

In 1903 Appia produced scenes from Carmen and Byron's Manfred with music by Schumann at comtesse de Bearn's private theatre in Paris. In 1906 he met Delcroze and and went to work with him at the Eurythmics Institute in Hellerau near Dresden, where he was able to design his own theatre for his work. This is where his most experimental abstract work took place. He finally began to achieve proper recognition in the 1920s. In 1923 he staged Tristan and Isolde in Milan and in 1924 and 1925 the first two parts of The Ring Cycle in Basel.

What Appia created was a totally new kind of stage setting and stage lighting which we now take for granted..  .  .  [Appia's] new method of approaching problems and .  .  . [fresh] solutions. anticipate the technical and aesthetic basis of stage lighting which we use today: unifying the stage setting, creating mood and atmosphere, emphasising dramatic value in performance and heightening the audience's emotional response. But the limitation of Appia's work was that he could find no basis for the interpretation of drama except through music.


Appia and Craig share many ideas in common. Craig also wished to create a theatre which was a fusion of poetry, music, performer, colour and movement ('the Art of Theatre is neither acting nor the play, it is not scene nor dance, but it consists of all the elements of which these things are composed') designed to appeal to the emotions based on visual suggestion, evocation and symbolic representation rather than a reproduction of reality. For Craig also a scenic environment was an atmosphere rather than a locality. His productions and plans for productions, like Appia's, were based on a subjective view of text: 'I let my scenes grow out of not merely the play, but broad sweeps of thought which the play has conjured up in me.' He also shared Appia's interest in the potential of light in the theatre and experimented with colour and by rejecting the traditional lighting positions of footlights and blanket overhead cover.

Craig also shared Appia's preoccupation with the three dimensional nature of stage space and three dimensional composition within it using actors as well as the scenic environment. Of this first production, the Purcell Opera Dido and Aeneas (1899) he said: 'The instrument I was working with was a company - 60 men and women - line and colour - in movement, sound and scene.'  In his next production, Purcell's Masque of Love, characters under a tent like structure, arranged in geometrical configurations, moved on and out of pools of light. He conceived of theatre visually and emotionally rather than as a literary, intellectual event. As with Appia it was opera that first stimulated Craig's imagination, as text is only one element of many and not the most vital or dominant. He was free to convey sensations and abstractions with colour, light and rhythmic movement relatively unencumbered by conventions of character, setting and plot detail.

His last and most well known production was Hamlet with Stanislavsky at the Moscow Art Theatre. This was a project fraught with problems, not least Craig and Stanislavsky's aesthetic differences. The set design consisted of large screens designed to offer 'A Thousand Scenes in One'. They could suggest a claustrophobic inner world or light filled doorways and corridors according to arrangement, these were originally designed to move smoothly in full view of the audience but their construction was such that this was not possible.

Visually Craig's work shares Appia's simplicity but it has more severity especially in his use of vertical line which mixed with shadow carry the eye up beyond the limits of the stage; the most notable feature of his scenic environments are their height and their sense of grandeur. These proportions are a visual metaphor of the diminished stature of the actor in Craig's theatre.

In 1905 he created a set of abstract designs to illustrate his theories: The Steps - a set of designs for the theatre of the future, a theatre of architecture and movement, free of words. These designs, mirrored the four stages of human life, show wide flights of steps running up to a platform, the mood is changed in each design by altering light and shadow and by movement of figures.

The next logical step was to make a setting which also moved, a marriage of theatre technology with the figure in motion. A set of drawings entitled.  'Scene' made in 1907, illustrated a 'kinetic' mobile stage which enabled the scenic environment to change with the changing rhythm of the drama. The design for Scene was inspired by Serlio (Italian Renaissance architect who wrote treatise on perspective in the theatre), it consisted of a stage floor made up of blocks which could be raised or lowered at different speeds and a ceiling which was a mirror image of the floor. Craig imagined they would be controlled by a single person at the back of the auditorium (the director). Light would play across these surfaces and change with the mood. The difficulty involved in trying to realise Scene practically with the technology available to him led Craig to experiment with portable, movable screen: canvas flats which could be moved around and arranged in different configurations and lit in any colour according to mood. It was this idea which was used in staging Hamlet but he continued to experiment with this idea throughout his life in order to create a setting that by invisible means could move in ways analogous to the actor and to light.

Craig's rebellion against realism was not just concerned with scenic design - ' away with the real tree, do away with the reality of delivery, do away with the reality of action and you tend towards the doing away with the actor. Do away with the actor and you do away with the means by which a debased stage realism is produced and flourishes; no longer would their be a living figure to confuse us into connecting actuality and art.'  '...they must create for themselves a new form of acting, consisting in the main part of symbolic gesture.'  The actor for Craig must represent emotions to an audience whilst 'feeling as little of them as necessary'. The actor must banish 'the idea of impersonation, the idea of reproducing nature'. He advocated replacing the actor with the 'Uber-Marionette'. (Literally super-puppet). This is a contentious term which Craig never properly defines. Some people believe he meant a puppet others suggest he is referring to a depersonalised actor robed and masked which comes from the performers of ritualistic theatre (Greek/Oriental). 

Craig didn't really say anything that Wagner, Appia and the Symbolists hadn't already said but his strident and provocative tone made Craig noticed as an innovator. Many of Craig's ideas about light and shadow and architectural scenery had already been stated by Appia. Ten years before Dido and Aeneas Appia had described staging Wagner in a remarkably similar way. Glynne Wickham even suggests a direct influence. Both Appia and Craig sought to replace the representational approach to the visual elements of theatre with one concerned with abstract structures that embody line, mass, colour, texture and mood appropriate to the dramatic action. Both saw stage design as visual symbolism expressing the inner qualities of the play, creating a theatre of atmosphere not appearance. Both stressed the importance of movement, Appia of light and the body, Craig of light, the body and the set. Both are outstanding figures in the development of lighting in the modern theatre, because of their identification of the potential for light to transform space and control audience response.

Appia's work was grounded in music, for him music was the determining force of the spectacle. It is at the top of his hierarchy of the elements of theatre, then actor, then space, then lighting, then colour. For Craig all elements are equally important, but both recognised the importance of harmony between all of the elements. Appia insisted on the centrality of the actor and the importance of the area around them being in harmony with their actions. Appia as a designer subordinates his ego to needs of total work. Craig as a designer/director tended to impose his ego on the whole work. But both insist on the importance of a single figure guiding and controlling the performance: the director. This has to be a requirement of Symbolist theatre - if you are presenting a subjective view of reality it has to, by definition, come from a single person.

What does Gorelik say about Appia, Craig and Symbolism?

Gorelik talks about Naturalism being replaced by what he calls 'The New Stagecraft', a combination of elements of which Symbolism is one (remember he is talking about the United States). He describes Symbolism as portraying the realm of the soul; poetic truth not reality is the subject of drama. He describes Craig as creating 'Theatre for the sake of theatre, theatre as an art governed by laws unrelated - even opposed - to the workaday world...' . . . .He stresses the importance of the role of the scenic artist in Symbolism and quotes a section from Craig's On the Art of Theatre in which Craig describes how he would design 'Macbeth', and from the American designer Robert Edmond Jones (not a Symbolist by my definition) on how the scenic de singer should appeal to the 'mind's eye'.

The role of the scenic designer in Symbolism is not to explain environment but to create visions. They change from being scenic painters to 'space artists' (Fuchs). He also suggests an influence on Symbolism of experiments with light by Impressionist painters (Cezanne, Monet, Manet, Renoir, Seurat etc.).

He stresses the antagonism of those who he describes as Symbolists towards Naturalism. Paraphrasing the German director Georg Fuchs, he says, 'Let the audience know that theatre is something better than life, that it is an insight into life. The theatre is not a vulgar peep show.' (p178) Later he imagines what the Symbolists might say to the Naturalists:
'Do not bring on the stage your carcasses of reality...Do not exhibit there your vanloads of bric-a-brac, your butcher's shops with real meat, your restaurant walls of cement and tile, your streets paved with real cobblestones. These collections of materials do not tell us the nature of the world; rather they confess your inability to define the nature of the world. If you really wish to give us an illusion of life. you must seize upon the essence of life. Forget the body; give us the soul.'

Gorelik . . . also provides an interesting quote from Georg Fuchs which suggests that too much realism can create a contradiction at the very heart of the theatircal experience: 'There are spectators who are like children. give them a doll which is too perfect an imitation and their imagination has nothing left to invent. The doll with its gross realism has shattered their little world of fantasy, and they do not know what to do with a useless plaything.  .  .   .'

[Text draws on published seminar notes by and refers directly to views attributed to: Eric Bentley (ed) The Theory of the Modern Stage (Penguin 1968),  Gosta Bergman Lighting in the Theatre (Almqvist and Wiksell 1977), Mordecai Gorelik New Theatres for Old (Samuel French 1940), Michael Huxley and Noel Witts (eds) The Twentieth Century Performance Reader (Routledge 1996) and  J. L. Styan Modern Drama in Theory and Practice 2: Symbolism, Surrealism and the Absurd (Cambridge 1983). ]

To read the full text and view illustrations, please follow this LINK.

For further information on Craig and his symbolism, please follow this LINK

Rural setting 1
Baroque Theatre. Model of a 'Rural Setting' in the scenographic tradition of Bibiena and Barocke Theatre, featured in the exhibition Barocke Bühnentecknik in Europa: Schüler Austellung (Student's Exhibition), Bayreuth 2009.

Date 2009
Photographer: ©M Bailey

Royal Box
Royal Box at the Markgrafliches Opernhaus, Bayreuth.  

Date: August 2009
Photographer: ©M Bailey

The Opera House in Bayreuth was built from 1746 to 1750 by Giuseppe Galli Bibiena, then Europe’s leading theatre architect, commissioned by Margrave Frederick and Margravine Wilhelmine of Brandenburg-Kulmbach. The Bayreuth Opera House is a typical example of a court ceremonial hall in absolutist society.  In its scale and magnificence, it was comparable in its period only with the opera houses in Vienna, Dresden, Paris and Venice.

Opera House
Bühnenportal mit seitlichen Trompeterlogen des Proszeniums; Zustand 2012. (Proscenium and stage of the  Markgrafliches Opernhaus, Bayreuth.)

Date: 2012
Photographer: Unknown 

Orchestra Pit
Orchestra pit at the Bayreuth Festival Theatre, showing the conductor's podium.

Date: Unknown
Photographer:  Unknown.    Archive image feature in the blog Life and Works of the World's Favourite Classical Composers.

Auditorium and stage of Bayreuth Festival Theatre during performance marking the bi-centenary of Richard Wagner's birth

Date: May 2013
Photographer:  Unknown.   

Parsifal act one, scene one {Mont Salvat), designed by Adolphe Appia.

Date: ca. 1896
Photographer unknown. Original Image believed to be out of copyright.

Adolphe Appia's design for Parsifal act three, scene one.

Date: ca. 1896
Photographer unknown. Original Image believed to be out of copyright.

Adolphe Appia's design for 'Die Walkure act three.

Date: ca. 1896
Photographer unknown. Original Image believed to be out of copyright.

Adolphe Appia's design for the 1923 Milan production of 'Tristan and Isolde'  (Act 2).

Date: 1923
Photographer unknown. Original Image believed to be out of copyright.

Note: Appia endeavoured to use a single torch to light the beginning of the 2nd Act. The lighting created a misty, grim atmosphere with the scenery, which was hardly discernible, becoming gradually perceptible as the audience vision adapts to the low lighting level. 

(Werner Herzog, with designer Henning von Gierke, was to use a similar approach, dependent on modern lighting facilities, in the 1987 production of Lohengrin at Bayreuth.)

Adolphe Appia's design for Orpheus, at the Hellerau Eurythmics Centre. (Rabbit Hole,)

Date:  1913
Photographer unknown. Original Image believed to be out of copyright.

Edward Gordon Craig's design for Shakespeare's Hamlet at the Moscow Arts Theatre.  Performed 1911 in Moscow.

Date: 1908
Photographer: Unknown..  Original Image believed to be out of copyright.

Craig's Ibsen
Edward Gordon Craig's design for Act 2 of Ibsen's Vikings at Helgeland, performed in 1907

Date: 1903
Photographer: Unknown. Original Image believed to be out of copyright.

HamletEdward Gordon Craig's design for Stanislavski's Shakespeare's Hamlet at the Moscow Arts Theatre.  Performed 1912 in Moscow.

Date: 1908
Photographer: Unknown.  Original Image believed to be out of copyright.

Parsufal 1958
Parsifal, Act 1, Richard Wagner.  Wieland Wagner's 1971 production at Bayreuth.

Date: 1958
Photographer: Unknown, ©Bildarchiv Bayreuther Festspiele    Reproduced in 1876 Bayreuth 1992, published by ©Bayreuther Festspiele GMBH 1991.

Parsifal Act 1
Parsifal, Act 1, Richard Wagner.  Wieland Wagner's 1971 production at Bayreuth.

Date: 1971
Photographer: Unknown, ©Bildarchiv Bayreuther Festspiele    Reproduced in 1876 Bayreuth 1992, published by ©Bayreuther Festspiele GMBH 1991

Siegfried 1969
Siegfried, Act 2, The Ring of the Niebelungen, Richard Wagner. Wieland Wagner's 1955 production at Bayreuth.

Date: 1955
Photographer: Unknown, ©Bildarchiv Bayreuther Festspiele Reproduced in 1876 Bayreuth 1992, published by ©Bayreuther Festspiele GMBH 1995.

Tristan 1962
Tristan and Isolde, Act 1, Wieland Wagner's 1962 Production of Richard Wagner's Opera at Bayreuth.

Date: 1969
Photographer: Unknown, ©Bildarchiv Bayreuther Festspiele Reproduced in 1876 Bayreuth 1992, published by ©Bayreuther Festspiele GMBH 1991

Ralph Koltai's designs for the Sadler's Wells Opera production of Richard Wagner's 'Ring' Cycle' at the Coliseum in the 1970s.

Date: ca 1972
Source: ©Ralph Koltai and Sadler's Wells Opera.

Ralph Koltai's designs for the National Theatre production of George Bernard Shaw's 'Back to Methuselah' at the Old Vic 1968-9. Lighting by Robert Ornbo.

Date 1968
Source: ©Ralph Koltai and The National Theatre

Edward Gordon Craig's design for Shakespeare's Hamlet at the Moscow Arts Theatre
.  Performed 1911 in Moscow.

Date: 1908
Photographer: Unknown  

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