Stage magic – by the hands of property designers

Stage magic – by the hands of property designers

The Week of Culture is continued Turkmenistan. In the line of art exhibitions, theatre premieres and new local-made cinema, we would like to devote a special topic to “fighters of the invisible front” – property designers and property masters, who can perform a real miracle on stage.

Most often, the youth, while entering theatre universities, dream about the career of an actor. But after all, not only artists work in the theater, but also such “romantics” who are interested in the fascinating world of the backstage. A team of property masters from the State Drama Theater named after Aleksandr Pushkin in Ashgabat told what are the property designers and shared some secrets of the profession.

First and foremost, a property designer is an one who is ready to try his hand at anything. Indeed, to make artificially created scenic objects to naturally “sound” in the spotlights, you need to make a lot of work, to use a plenty tube of glue, to consume a lot of paints, paper, foam rubber, mastic, wood … The list of materials used can be still continued endlessly.

The property designers and property masters are real inventive persons, and their imagination and ingenuity can work wonders. They can turn cardboard into the princess’s golden crown, while plastic waste – into elegant flowers and gorgeous bouquets. One of the most important features of the profession is that the workers of the property workshop are never bored.

“There is no monotony in our work, we are always in the process of creating something new,” property master Lyudmila Mihailova says. “I have been working in the theater for about 30 years, and I began to master the profession of the property master in the Ashgabat art school. At the time when I was studying, an experimental faculty – a property design department – was opened at the school. We visited the theaters, studied the work of property shops from being inside. After art school, I joined the Theater of Young Spectators, and soon moved to the Pushkin Theater. There were many interesting works, but I remember the very first one. “Women’s table in the hunting room” was the title of the play, where I first realized how much I love my job.”

The performances are also created by the efforts of the stage designers, so the team of property masters refers cooperation with the People’s Artist of Turkmenistan Berdykuli Amansahatov. He was the designer of more than one performance. The stage sceneries for the staging of “We Will Meet Sure” and “The Widowed Steamboat” are remembered by the theater staff as the most complicated and interesting.

“As to the latest complicated scenery and property decoration, the play “The Seagull” can be mentioned,” Lyudmila notes. “Of course, when we watch the dress rehearsals of the performances, first of all, due to the profession, we pay attention to our work. The viewer may not notice such small details, but if at least one thing gets out of the artistic design, then this will affect the whole perception of the stage work.”

Three talented women have been working for many years in the team of property designerss of the Pushkin Theater – Lyudmila Mihailova, Tatyana Pradan and production designer Galina Shichanina. As the craftswomen admit, the work that they do would not be complete if other theatrical workshops were not involved. The common work of property designers, costumers, seamstresses, scene monitors, sound technicians, and lighting designers helps to realize the ideas of directors and actors. And all these are aimed to make a viewer to come to the theater again and again, to love it and cultivate love for theater in children.

Very soon, the Week of Culture will come to its end, and the theater season will get the finale. It turned out to be quite eventful and for sure, many Turkmenistan’s residents will remember the big theater festival that took place in November 2019. ORIENT editors join the many congratulation addresses that these days receive the workers of culture and arts. Thanks to you, the possibility of a miracle comes true.

Selbi CHARIYEVA

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