Design Approach Statement


The Design Approach Statement should be, at most, three pages in length. Write a draft, reread it, edit it and pare it down to the essentials. The writing of this is, in essence, a design of its own. Use it to refine how you think about the script. Say as much as you can in as few words as are absolutely necessary, while expressing your ideas completely. This is a working document. Include and follow the order of these headings in your writing.

The Story:

Tell the story briefly in the first paragraph or two. Don't get bogged down in extraneous details. Give the primary events and their effects on the characters. Give a sense of the passage of time, but this is not a cronological listing of the actions of the PLOT. Think of the salient features of the story that help us to understand what is going on—relationships, crises, goals, obstacles, etc. as well as pertinent actions. ou might begin by thinking aout character, or theme instead of action. This is objective, not subjective.

Point of View:

This is essentially a “thesis” statement telling us your point of view of the story. What do you see as the main idea (theme) in the story? How is the story relative to our own time or to a contemporary audience? How does the setting relate to the telling of the story and the support of the argument? This is subjective, not objective.


This is not the specific location. It is the emotional or intellectual world in which the action takes place. This should encompass the social and political environment, as well. While location is not what I am looking for, if the general location is specific to the understanding of the play, such as “a poor urban environment in NYC”, this can be useful information. Clearly identifying the environment opens a multitude of design possibilities which merely providing a location does not. (You may decide that the location and the environment are the same place, but this needs to be explored and explained.)

Visual Imagery/ Metaphor:

The environment described in visual terms, either concretely as in “A barren, distorted and intellectualized space like a painting by DiChirico”, or more freely as in “Earth tones and textures of rotting vegetation mixed with the soiled pages of ancient books”. This should be poetic and descriptive without getting hyperbolic. It's a way to begin talking about the play in purely abstract visual terms. You should also discuss some of the images and metaphors the playwright provides in the script. Again, this is not the location.


How, in the design, you might begin to approach the environment of this play in concrete terms. This can be incomplete and will surely change, but it is a place to start. Don't get locked in at this point — perhaps you relate to you visual imagery and merely speculate on how that might be used, whether with color or texture or materials or scale. Talk in terms of “textured dull fabrics” or “towering forms” or "low, slantig light", not flats and platforms and Lekos. I want to know what it looks like, not how it is built in the shop.


This should be typed with 12 pt. font, spell-checked and proofread for omissions and continuity.  It will be given a separate grade as part of the final grade of each project.