CMU School of Drama

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Member Spotlight: Josafath Reynoso How were you introduced to scenic design?

When I was 11 or 12 it was during one of the worst economic crisis in the last 30 years. I almost had to drop out of school. I started at a vocational school where I learned basic carpentry and after that I got a scholarship to one of the biggest schools in Mexico. That is the first time I heard about theatre and got involved with the production crew building things.


Sasha Schwartz said...

In the midst of USITT week, it’s great to see them promoting a designer with such an interesting backstory and, therefore, educate people about the wealth of diversity that theater has to offer. I think it’s very interesting to read that he started out as a carpenter and then a TD before going to college for scenography, because you don’t often hear about people moving from the hands-on side of things to the design side of things. Its cool that Reynoso talks about scenic designing in terms of emotion first, fact second, since we talk so much here about architectural research and period accuracy that it’s easy to forget that, as Eliazabeth Hope Clancy talked to us about today during our Scenic Forum guest session, the narrative is the most important part of everything we do as designers. Therefore, the message behind the story should come through your design primarily, so it makes sense to start with emotion and meaning rather than period research, even though that may be our first instinct as technically minded people. I think it’s very cool that Reynoso references, as he says, as many books, films, cartoons, pieces of artwork, etc that is within reach of his idea to express his thoughts on what the set could be when approaching a show, since it reflects very well what Mark Bly talked to us about in Special Topics last week about us as young artists needing to absorb as much content as possible that isn’t just theater- museums, movies, tv shows, and just being out in the world can open us up to so much inspiration we wouldn’t normally think of as “artistic”, which can be limiting in terms of expression.

Katherine Sharpless said...

It was really interesting to read about a designer with a less typical background and how that can inform his design choices. Even being in a good school with helpful people the scramble to make connections can feel really intimidating and important, but Reynoso had to switch from TD to Designer, from Mexico to the US without the tradition path. But it does make it more evident that he earned his respect in the industry and that his designs can speak louder than his name (which, for me at least, is the goal). It sheds some light on that fact that a lot of set designers start as architects or interior designers etc. and that the career switch for them can be difficult, but their perspective is unique. I also loved how he mentioned he takes from cartoons for inspiration and will show directors cartoons in design meetings- cause I've know of taking inspiration from fine art, architecture, etc. but not really from comics.