Wheeler, Olivia

Project title: EVOKE: An Exploration of Theatrical Designs Emotional Stimulus

Department: Theatre

Faculty supervisor: Prof. Patrick Du Wors and Dr. Alexandra Kovacs

"At the University of Victoria, our theatrical practice is focused the performer; the other theatrical elements support their emotional journey.  The elements of performance design, such as sound, lighting, and set, create the world around the performer and yet, their impact often goes unnoticed by the audience. Through my research project, I will explore ways in which performance design alone can tell a story, transform the atmosphere and environment, and have the equivalent emotional impact on the audience as an actor.  Through this project, I will be using the five stages of grief as the basis to create an immersive design installation using sound, lighting and scenography.  The research will include assisting a professional designer to further develop my technical skills, research in the symbolist and surrealist art movements and psychology behind emotional states, such as Sigmund Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams, and surveying the audience’s response to the scenographic installation.  By using performance design as the principal story-telling technique, the audience will be immersed in all elements of the design installation, and as a result, feel the environment transform around them through the five stages of grief.  The theatre going audience in Victoria does not often have the opportunity to experience non-conventional forms of theatre. My research project will explore performance design outside of its traditional confines.  Further, this project will promote a dialogue about the impact of scenographic design and the ways in which contemporary practitioners are challenging the traditional parameters of the discipline."