Friday, 23 March 2012

The Sea The Sea....

The Georgian Theatre posted on its facebook page the other day :
We've been having a lovely morning in the archives today!! Did you know that in 1839 a play called the 'Wreckers Daughter' was performed on our stage? What made it so groundbreaking was that it featured 'moving sea' when most people at that time had never even seen the sea!
I had to agree how much fun it is looking through archives. I also noticed when I was there how many posters made a feature of the sea and all things nautical. They make a huge feature of the scenery - it functions as a special attraction.
'Black-eyed Susan' had a particular attraction involving a view of the forecastle with 'scaffold rigged out between the cat-head and fore-rigging'.
The play and the scenery are extensively described; they contain so much more information than modern theatre posters. There are no graphics at all - but really dense text; compare a current poster from the GTR with one from 1825.

Quite apart from the colour, the main message is conveyed by the image; the amount of information is really limited. As modern posters go this one actually has quite a lot of text as it includes the director, writer, contact information for the theatre and highlights one of the actors; compare this one from the National Theatre which is minimal - the author name is tiny and no actors are mentioned as it relies on the audience's familiarity with Lenny Henry. The theatre has an immediately recognisable logo too so its name isn't even spelled out. No prices, no description of scenery but there are the logos of the production's sponsors. A modern indication of what is important in contemporary theatre !

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