Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Prof. Murdock Lucas Completes 100th Show with Turandot in Korea

“The world is gold and wood, split apart by hate, held together by steel and blood, and finally healed by love.”

Prof. Murdock Lucas Completes 100th Show with Turandot in Korea

Images from Turandot, scenic and projection design by Prof. Murdock Lucas. Photos by Lucas as well.

Prof. Murdock Lucas, a faculty member in TTF who teaches a variety of scenic and projection design courses, recently wrapped up his 100th professional theatrical presentation as scenic and projection designer for the opera Turandot. This particular version of the famous opera was produced for the Deajeon Arts and Cultural Center in Deajeon, the Republic of Korea. Lucas remarks, “This was a transformative experience. Working as the only American on this opera with an all Korean team was remarkable.”

Lucas’s interest in theatre goes back to his childhood. He says his early love for theatre was complimented by his mutual interest in 1940s radio dramas, which he thinks helped build his imagination. Lucas studied design at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. While he worked with many mentors there, he credits Franco Colavecchia, a major designer of opera in the 1980s, with helping him develop his eye for operatic design.

When asked how scenic and projection design work for opera, Lucas remarked, “the scenic design for an opera should be the geometry of the story. In practical terms, scene designs make the action of opera possible.”

For this production of Turandot, Lucas worked with the director, Sun Young Jung, to bring out the conflict at the center of the story. He says, “In this opera, the world we created on stage is representative of the whole universe itself. The space is vast and ancient, cleft apart by division, hatred, and war.” The title character, Turandot, “tries to stitch the cleft back together and heal the world. In our production, we emphasize how Turandot is trying to stop the violence that is tearing her kingdom apart.” Lucas concludes, “The world is gold and wood, split apart by hate, held together by steel and blood, and finally healed by love.”

Lucas reflects that the conceptual process of this production was as fascinating as the final result. He says, “The collaborative relationship I formed with the Director across the world, communicating through video-chat and e-mail across the language barrier (I speak very little Korean, and relied almost entirely on her ability to speak English!) was powerful. I have never had an experience of such intense and mutual listening. There was a tremendous amount of generosity and sincere investment in what we were trying to do together. Our design discussions would sometimes extend to 3 or 4 hours at a time.”

Congratulations to Professor Lucas for his 100th show!

Full Credits for the Daejeon production of Turandot are below:

Here are the credits, in English and Korean:

Director: Sun Young Jung

Maestro: Kwang Hyun Kim

Scene Design: Charles Murdock Lucas

Costume Design: Soo Jinn Lee

Lighting Design: Jeong Hoon

Makeup Design: Young Hwa Park

Projection Design: Charles Murdock Lucas

The content within this article has been edited by Lizbeth Persons.

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