The Theater collection consists of over 1000 scene designs, costume renderings and illustrations by Broadway designer Mordecai Gorelik and Darwin Payne. These are both part of larger collections of papers and images donated by Gorelik and Payne to the Special Collections Research Center, Southern Illinois University Carbondale. The Gorelik digital collection was made possible by through a grant from the United States Institute for Theatre Technology.
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Mordecai (Max) Gorelik
Known best for his scene designs for the Group Theatre in the
1930s and his seminal theatre history text New Theatres for Old
(1940), Mordecai Gorelik's career spanned three quarters of the
twentieth century. He studied or worked with the most famous
designers of the1920s and 1930s-Robert Edmund Jones, Norman Bel
Geddes, Cleon Throckmorton, Lee Simonson- and designed for the
most prestigious companies of the day- the Provincetown Players,
the Theatre Guild, the Group Theatre. The lesser venues in which
he worked were the most political and/or avant garde of their
day-the New Playwrights, the Theatre Collective, the Theatre of
Action, the Theatre Union.
Gorelik rendered in a wide variety of media and styles as
evidenced by the images represented here. His first encounter
with Bertolt Brecht in 1935 deeply influenced both his theories
and designs. Gorelik pioneered the deliberate employment of
metaphor in design, exhibited in his unpublished manuscript
The Scenic Imagination
. His Broadway career began with
John Howard Lawson's vaudevillian critique of Americana,
, and ended in 1960 with A Distant
. His film designs include L'Ennemi Publique No.1
and None But the Lonely Heart
Mordecai Gorelik taught at Southern Illinois University of
from 1960-1972. Upon his retirement he continued
to teach, design, direct, and focused primarily on his
Darwin Reid Payne (BA, MFA, and DFA (hon) Southern Illinois University at Carbondale) was an adjunct professor of scenography at Wake Forest University at Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and also a lecturer on scenographic model making at the North Carolina School of the Arts. He was formerly chairman of the theater department at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. In addition to designing and directing at summer stock, regional and university productions throughout the United States and Canada, he was also involved with the integration of traditional scenographic rendering techniques with computer graphics technology.
Mr. Payne may be best known for his theatre design texts. In particular his Theory and Craft of the Scenographic Model
was the first text on model building to treat the model as a tool in the creation of the design. His Design for the Stage: the First Steps
was also the first text to treat design separate from stagecraft. His Computer Scenographics
was also the first text on using computer-aided design software for scenery. In 2006, Payne received a special citation from United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT). The citation was "in recognition of the profound and enduring contribution you have achieved in your roles as scene designer, educator, and author. USITT honors your innovation, creativity, and inspiration, as well as your contributions to theatrical design education."
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