Crystal Tiala
Associate Professor of Design
Theater Department,  Boston College
Phone:  617-552-4334
STAGE DESIGN I        CT352-01   or   FS352-01
Time:    Tuesday and Thursday, 1:30-2:45

Course Description and Objectives
    Scene design is a form of theatrical art that communicates ideas visually and spatially.  It enhances the performance and comments on the action.  Scene design requires numerous skills:
  1. It is like architecture in its necessity to plan spaces, organize the flow of pedestrian/actor traffic and communicate specific construction requirements with a defined visual vocabulary of drafting.  
  2. It is like painting and sculpture in its ability to form space in a way that can reach us emotionally, and when done well, enhance the emotional content of the script.
  3.  It is like dance by changing to the needs of the performance over the duration of the performance as defined by the music or script. 
To learn the art of scene design, one must be able to understand theatrical devices, analyze the content of scripts, and learn to manipulate visual images with an understanding of their psychological impact.   
This class will be a combination of learning skills of visual communication…….
1.    Evaluation of visual images as a communicative tool
2.    Script Analysis
3.    Drafting
4.    Mechanical Perspective and Drawing
5.    Model Building and sculpture
*****This course is similar to a studio arts course and you must always be prepared to work in class.  Be prepared to spend significant amounts of time seeking images to fit the needs and mood of the script and looking at the visual world in new ways. 

SCENE PAINTING I       CT-246 & FS-205
Time:    Monday/Wednesday   9-11 am
Place: Scene Shop
Course Description and Objectives
    Scene Painting for the theater is an old and well established art.  Many techniques of the trade have been handed down through generations and remain essentially unchanged.  Learning to paint on a large scale for the theater is somewhat different than painting in a studio environment due to the large sale, the intense theatrical lighting and the fact that it is intended to create a stylistic whole, not a personal artistic statement.
    However, many scene painting skills are similar to studio painting such as prepping the surfaces, color mixing, drawing, painting, perspective and gaining an understanding of the way light affects objects.  This course will develop these skills of observation and painting technique providing you an opportunity to learn the processes of professional scenic artists in theater and performing arts.
    This will be a class devoted to projects and research.  Painting does not arrive from your imagination alone.  Research into surfaces and light will be necessary to apply the skills of painting.

Time:  MW  10 - 11 AM
Computer Aided Drafting and Design is powerful design and graphics tool commonly used by many professionals including Architects, Engineers, Artists, Entertainment Professionals and others to create, specify and visualize spaces of all kinds.  The program used in this course, VectorWorks, is a high end program that is becoming as common as Auto CAD yet produces professional results in a shorter period of time.   For a brief sampling of its many applications, visit:
Case studies at this web site include designs for the concert stage set for Madonna, theatrical lighting applications, sculpture installation, archeological recreations of cities, virtual reality training and many more.   Boston College has equipped Gasson 001 lab with software to create 2-D and 3-D spaces (VectorWorks), create theatrical and entertainment lighting plots (Spotlight) and render in full texture and color.  The course will culminate in a Quick-Time 3D  “walk through” animation of the student designed space.

Time:    Tuesday and Thursday, noon - 1:15     
Instructors & Shop Supervisors:
Crystal Tiala     Jackie Dalley     Kathy Peter
552-4334        552-4613            552-4615

Course Description and Objectives
Elements I introduces the history, theory and practice of technical theater production through lectures, discussion, observation and hands-on experience.  Completion of the course will equip you with the basic knowledge of design elements and concepts along with providing you with the minimum skills necessary for the preparation and execution of scenery, props and costumes for the stage. (Lighting, sound, and paint skills will be addressed in Elements II)  This course, required for all theatre majors, will also be particularly useful to those non-majors who wish to work on productions at the Robsham Center.  No experience is necessary. 

Time:    Tuesday and Thursday
Instructors & Shop Supervisors:
Crystal Tiala        Jackie Dalley        Kathy Peter   
2-4334                 2-4613                2-4615

Course Description and Objectives
Elements II will continue where Elements I ended.   Completion of the course will equip you with specific design skills and familiarize you with the design process of Scenic, Costume, Lighting and Sound design.  Also, Elements II will introduce you to skills necessary for the preparation and execution of lights, sound, painting and make-up for stage productions. This course, required for all theatre majors, will also be particularly useful to those non-majors who wish to work on productions at the Robsham Center.  Prerequisites:  CT-140 or permission of instructor.

ALL SEMESTERS   one credit
There are 2 types of crews:  Running crew and Production Crews.

   The running crew performs all backstage duties in a performance.  Crews must be present during the final week of rehearsal (tech week) , all performances and strike.  This includes evening and weekend rehearsals & performance times for approximately eleven days.  Assistant stage management positions, however, will need to participate in nearly all rehearsals & performances.  All run crews must attend the strike immediately following the final performance. These will not conflict with regular daily classes.   YOU MUST ATTEND ALL TECH REHEARSALS, PERFORMANCES & STRIKE IN ORDER TO FULFULL A RUNNING CREW LAB! The supervisor for running crew will be the Stage Manager for the production.

    Preparation crews are scheduled over the course of the entire semester to work in one of the shops.  They meet according to their needs. No previous experience is required.  
The Theater Department will be assigning designers and stage managers to the student directed workshop shows through an application process.   If chosen to design or stage manage a show, the student will agree to fulfill the requirements of the production as explained by their assigned mentor.   If a student is interested in completing a main stage design by their senior year, it is important that he/she fulfills all the requirements of a workshop design by their Junior year. 

Courses I teach
Set Design information
and Tutorial

Theater Department Website
at Boston College

My Professional Website