Susan Messing gave her “Group Pretty” workshop about stage picture a few weeks ago, and the topic came up again during Tara’s workshop today.
Messing’s class was devoted to how symmetry and mirroring could be combined to create great stage pictures, taking a bottom up approach in which individual performers could use techniques to construct a better visual picture by being conscious about how parts could play a role in the whole.
In Tara’s class, the discussion came up in more of a top down fashion. In one of our openings, we had largely stayed in a semicircle of death except for one scene in which we’d switched into a more visually dynamic choral stack. Tara pointed out that the choral stack is more likely to arise when a team is attempting to construct a single picture (e.g. a machine) than multiple individual pictures.
In both cases, there was a common theme: play out towards the audience.