Art on the Stage: Using Charles Mee’s Artist Plays to Practice the Design Process

Submitted by: Mary Elizabeth Valesano, University of Detroit Mercy


Students are asked to design 3 costumes and 1 set for one of the following plays: “Van Gogh’s Sunflowers,” “Matisse’s Self Portrait,” or “Picasso’s Masterpiece,” all by Charles Mee. As all three plays are based on the life and work of a famous artist, students are asked to thoroughly research the paintings of their chosen artist and use the artist’s style to influence their costume and scenic designs. This introduces students to the research and design process and to the practice of using research to inform a design approach. Because the artists’ paintings provide a clear direction for research and a firm foundation for them to build on, this project is particularly suitable for introductory level theatre courses and students with minimal design experience.

Read More