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"The Dramatic Imagination"

The Dramatic Imagination is one of the few enduring works written about set design. Robert Edmond Jones's innovations in set design and lighting brought new ideas to the stage, but it is greater understanding of design - its role at the heart of theater - that has continued to inspire theater students. The volume includes "A New Kind of Drama," "To a Young Stage Designer" and six other of Jones's "reflections."

Jones, Robert Edmond. The Dramatic Imagination. New York: Theatre Arts, 1956.

C. Currie
New York City
December 21, 2004

"Epically poetic, sweepingly romantic, this beautiful little book (one of the first theatre books I've ever read) is one of the great speculations and reflections on the theatre. While "The Dramatic Imagination" won't teach you HOW to design for the theatre, it will teach you (or remind you) WHY you design for the theatre -- you design to keep it alive. And while the copyright is c. 1940, the goal of the book for the design and performance arts today is as it originally was - to create a theater for OUR time. The goal of this book will always be relevant, it will always be a guide.

Robert Edmond Jones was not only crafting stage designs, he was crafting a vision of the human soul in flight in ways that had yet to be embodied on the stage, and this book is a testament to that goal. What's beautiful -- amazing -- about what Robert Edmond Jones has put down here, is a `vision eternal' of the theatre. He does not write of a `theatre of the future' -- he writes of an `ideal theater,' a theatre `not yet made with hands'... `not yet made with hands' because it is a theatre and a vision born of the heart.

I don't know if Robert Edmond Jones would agree, but it does not matter whether those of us working in theatre today achieve that vision of the heart - what's important is that we always have, that we never forget, that vision of the heart: the things of the senses, the "real," fades into memory and crystallizes into truth, beauty, wonder and astonishment.

Read this wonderful, beautifully written little book. "

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