Advertisement

The Designer as Global Cartographer

Chapter
  • 67 Downloads
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Theatre and Performance History book series (PSTPH)

Abstract

Amid artifacts from United States Navy (USN) operations during World War II (WWII) at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is a collection of photographs produced by Norman Bel Geddes. Titled a “Mock Version” of the Battle of Midway, Bel Geddes’s photographs, frame by frame, give a visual history of the United States’ naval victory against Japanese forces on June 3–6, 1942. Using the same model building techniques Bel Geddes had perfected with Futurama, he simulated the Pacific battlefield with a tabletop stage, theatrical lighting, precisely carved miniatures of naval ships, and various materials used to suggest smoke plumes, engine wakes, and torpedo paths on the ocean’s surface. Framed and shot from an aerial perspective, the photographs realistically simulated the battle’s intricate sequence of attacks between enemy fleets. Quite literally, Bel Geddes had constructed a theatre of war, a means by which he could design and document the Midway battle as well as a variety of other battle scenarios from the Pacific war.

Keywords

Stage Designer Model Photograph Production Team Modern Warfare Visual History 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 4.
    Robert W. Karrow, Jr., “Introduction,” in Maps: Finding Our Place in the World, ed. James R. Akerman and Robert W. Karrow, Jr. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007), 10.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    Matthew H. Edney, “The Irony of Imperial Mapping,” in The Imperial Map, ed. James R. Akerman (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009), 11.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    Marvin Carlson, Places of Performance: The Semiotics of Theatre Architecture (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1989), 2.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    Elinor Fuchs and Una Chaudhuri, Land/Scape/Theatre (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2002), 3.Google Scholar
  5. See also Una Chaudhuri, Staging Place: The Geography of Modern Drama (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1997).Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    David Harvey, “From Space to Place and Back Again: Reflections on the Condition of Postmodernity,” in Mapping the Futures: Local Cultures, Global Change, eds. Jon Bird, Barry Curtis, Tim Putman, George Robertson, and Lisa Tickner (London: Routledge, 1993), 7.Google Scholar
  7. 13.
    Wendy Kozol, Life’s America: Family and Nation in Postwar Photojournalism (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1994), 56.Google Scholar
  8. 14.
    James L. Baughman, Henry R. Luce and the Rise of the American News Media (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2001), 130.Google Scholar
  9. 22.
    John Hersey, “The Marines on Guadalcanal,” Life Magazine, November 9, 1942, 36.Google Scholar
  10. 26.
    Norman Bel Geddes, “Statement on Model Photography as a Method of Recording the Story of a Battle,” Midway Presentation Book (June 1942)Google Scholar
  11. 28.
    Hayden White, “The Historical Text as Literary Artifact,” in Tropics of Discourse: Essays in Cultural Criticism (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1978), 86.Google Scholar
  12. 34.
    Joel R. Davidson, The Unsinkable Fleet: The Politics of U.S. Navy Expansion in World War II (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1996), 6.Google Scholar
  13. 37.
    Ronald Arthur Naversen, “The Scenographer as Camoufleur,” PhD diss., Southern Illinois University, 1989, 42.Google Scholar
  14. 38.
    Jo Mielziner, Designing for the Theatre: A Memoir and a Portfolio (New York: Atheneum, 1965), 45.Google Scholar
  15. MacKenna worked in the literary department of a Hollywood film studio, and had recently acquired an advance copy of Michener’s book. Phillip Beidler, “South Pacific and American Remembering; or, ‘Josh, We’re Going to Buy This Son of a Bitch!,’” Journal of American Studies 27, no. 2 (1993): 212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 39.
    Frederick Nolan, The Sound of Their Music: The Story of Rodgers & Hammerstein (New York: Applause, 2002), 182; 195.Google Scholar
  17. 40.
    Arnold Aronson, Looking into the Abyss: Essays on Scenography (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2005), 134.Google Scholar
  18. 41.
    Michael Schaller, The American Occupation of Japan: The Origins of the Cold War in Asia (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985), 53; 152.Google Scholar
  19. 42.
    See Andrea Most, “‘You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught’: The Politics of Race in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific,” Theatre Journal 52, no. 3 (2000): 307–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Bruce McConachie, American Theatre in the Culture of the Cold War: Producing and Contesting Containment, 1947–1962 (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2003).Google Scholar
  21. 43.
    Bruce McConachie, “The ‘Oriental’ Musicals of Rodgers and Hammerstein and the U.S. War in Southeast Asia,” in Staging Difference: Cultural Pluralism in American Theatre and Drama, ed. Marc Maufort (New York: P. Lang, 1995), 70.Google Scholar
  22. 44.
    Christina Klein, Cold War Orientalism: Asia in the Middlebrow Imagination, 1945–1961 (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2003), 164.Google Scholar
  23. 45.
    Joshua Logan, “New Tales of ‘South Pacific’” South Pacific Souvenir Program (New York: Al Greenstone, 1949).Google Scholar
  24. 46.
    Stacy Wolf, A Problem Like Maria: Gender and Sexuality in the American Musical (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2002), 28.Google Scholar
  25. 57.
    Cohama Advertisement, New York Times Magazine (October 30, 1949): 3.Google Scholar
  26. 59.
    Anna Leonowens, The English Governess in the Siamese Court (1870) and The Romance of the Harem (1872).Google Scholar
  27. Shengmei Ma, “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ‘Chopsticks’ Musicals,” Literature Film Quarterly 31, no. 1 (2003): 17.Google Scholar
  28. 65.
    Mary C. Henderson, Mielziner: Master of the Modern Stage (New York: Backstage Books, 2000), 188.Google Scholar
  29. 74.
    Frank Rich and Lisa Aronson, The Theatre Art of Boris Aronson (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1987), 5–10.Google Scholar
  30. 75.
    Lee Simonson, “Russian Theory in the American Theatre,” The Nation, June 12, 1929, 717–18.Google Scholar
  31. Simonson is reviewing Waldemar George’s Book Boris Aronson et l’Art du Théâtre (Paris: Chronique du Jour, 1928).Google Scholar
  32. 81.
    Seth L. Wolitz, “The Americanization of Tevye or Boarding the Jewish ‘Mayflower,’” American Quarterly 40, no. 4 (1988), 531.Google Scholar
  33. 82.
    Boris Aronson, “Notes on Designing Musicals,” (1974).Google Scholar
  34. 83.
    Stuart J. Hecht, Transposing Broadway: Jews, Assimilation, and the American Musical (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 179.Google Scholar
  35. 84.
    Henry Bial, Acting Jewish: Negotiating Ethnicity on the American Stage and Screen (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2006), 59.Google Scholar
  36. 87.
    Bruce Kirle, Unfinished Show Business: Broadway Musicals as Works-in-Process (Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois Press, 2005), 144.Google Scholar
  37. Also see Raymond Knapp’s cultural analysis of Fiddler in The American Musical and the Formation of National Identity (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005), 215–27.Google Scholar
  38. 88.
    Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, “Imagining Europe: The Popular Arts of American Jewish Ethnography,” in Divergent Jewish Cultures: Israel and America, ed. Edmund S. Morgan (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001), 156.Google Scholar
  39. 91.
    Joseph Stein, Jerry Bock, and Sheldon Harnick, Fiddler on the Roof, 2nd ed. (New York: Limelight, 1991), 153.Google Scholar
  40. 101.
    Mordecai Gorelik, “Metaphorically Speaking,” Theatre Arts (November 1954): 79.Google Scholar
  41. 102.
    Arnold Wengrow, “Howard Bay,” in Late and Great American Designers 1960–2010, ed. Bobbi Owen (Syracuse, NY: United States Institute for Theatre Technology, 2010), 59.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Christin Essin 2012

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations