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Conference & Stage Expo
For the Record

The photo, left, is from a production of Dr. Jeckyll
and Mr. Hyde
that was done at San Diego Rep with designs by Ladislav Vychodil. Click here to see a larger image.

Photo/Courtesy Don Childs

by Dan Denhart
Vice-President for Special Operations

Expo to Feature Many International Exhibits

The 47th Annual Conference & Stage Expo will feature several inspiring design exhibitions at Stage Expo in Phoenix. USITT will present Cover the Walls, which showcases the scenic, costume, and lighting design work of USITT's membership in a non-juried format. Cover the Walls will be mounted on stage in the ballroom section of the exhibit hall providing an appropriate setting for this exhibit. Anyone who would like to present work at Cover the Walls and has not yet applied, click here for the application form. The submission deadline is February 8.

Tech Expo coordinator Loren Schreiber and the Tech Expo Committee are gearing up for another display of clever production solutions devised by Institute members. This display is always a fascinating experience appealing to the "tinkerer" in everyone. Tech Expo catalogs will be available at the exhibit and at the USITT Boutique.

Stage Expo 2007 promises its share of spectacular special exhibitions. Set, costume, and make-up designer Irene Corey has worked for almost 50 years in the field. She is perhaps best known for designing the big purple dinosaur Barney and his friends, but prior to that she designed religious plays like The Book of Job, which toured the world.

With her husband Orlin, Ms. Corey co-founded the Everyman Players with the assistance of students from her years at Centenary College in Baton Rouge, Louisana and Georgetown College in Kentucky. In 1983, she and her niece, Suzanne Lockridge, co-founded Irene Corey Design Associates in Dallas, Texas to design soft sculpture costumes for theme parks, movies, and the theatre.

Ms. Corey has written several books including The Mask of Reality: an Approach to Design for the Theatre and The Face is a Canvas: The Design and Technique of Theatrical Make-up. She received the Thomas DeGaetani Award in 1994, and was the first Honorary Member of the National Costumers Association. In 1995, she gave her entire archive to Arizona State University. Selections from this collection will be presented in a retrospective format. It is appropriate to celebrate Ms. Corey's 80th year by including her exhibit at USITT in Phoenix.

She is a grand lady of design and pioneered many new techniques that should be shown and known to both veteran and new designers. In addition to viewing the exhibit, plan on attending Irene Corey's Imaginative Journey Continues, a session being offered by Ms. Lockridge 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 14.

The idea of exhibiting John Ezell's work came from the Scene Design Commission's Heritage Committee. Mr. Ezell's resume of regional, Broadway, and international design credits are impressive. He is a consultant to Yale's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library and a participant in the exchange of theatre artists with the People's Republic of China.

His drawings have been exhibited in New York, San Diego, Prague, Brussels, and Beijing. His work received the Award for Experimental Television Art in Milan, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Award for Excellence, and nine Critics' Circle Awards.

He received Washington University's 2001 Distinguished Alumni Award and was recently inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. During his Fellowship induction presentation, Mr. Exell chose to speak primarily to the students of design, reinforcing the importance of developing sketch skills as a means toward communicating the design and supporting the aesthetic vision of the director.

Through the generous support of the Theatre Institute of Bratislava, Slovakia and Dr. Ladislav Lajcha, USITT will present a tributary exhibit of the work of international artist Ladislav Vychodil. Mr. Vychodil's early studies sent him to Prague where he found inspiration in the avant-garde works of the Czech theatre strongly influenced by Myerhold, Brecht, Piscator, and Tairov.

In 1942 Mr. Vychodil became the resident scenographer for the theatre in Beskydy where he worked until 1944 when the theatre was banned. In 1945, at the age of 25, he became chief designer for the Slovak National Theater as well as head of scenography at the Academy of Musical Arts in Bratislava, a position he held until his retirement. Mr. Vychodil was a founding member of OISTAT serving as Chair of the Scenography Commission. In 1967, in concert with Josef Svoboda, he initiated the Prague Quadrennial.

Mr. Vychodil designed for theatres around the world including four North American projects. His North American work concluded in 1986 with a set design for an adaptation of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde at the San Diego Repertory Theater. This design won the Gold Medal for Best Scenographic Production at the 1987 Prague Quadrennial. Mr. Vychodil's body of work encompasses well over 300 productions, seven decades, and five continents. He was the complete artist, the consummate teacher, and master of his field.

To round out its special exhibitions, the International Committee is sponsoring an exhibit of work by Bulgarian costume designer Marina Ratchinova, Netherlands designer Warner Van Wely, Welch scenographer Sean Crowley, and Belgian scenic technologist Chris Van Goethem.

The design exhibits are presented as a special part of Stage Expo. Make plans to spend time viewing these outstanding collections of work.

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Below, designer Irene Corey poses with one of her costume creations.

Photo/Courtesy Suzanne Lockridge

Below, another image from Mr. Vychodil's realized designs for Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde.
Click here to see the complete image.

Photo/Courtesy Don Childs