Boyana Buchvarova is a scenographer based in Sofia, Bulgaria. She holds a BA degree in “Stage and Set Design”, MA degree in “Theatre Arts” and a PhD with the subject of digital scenography in the National Academy of Theatre and Film Arts of Bulgaria. Since 2009 she has worked as a freelance designer and art director in the fields of theatre, film, TV, commercials, events and graphic design. She has participated in many workshops, local and international festivals and scientific forums, exhibitions and created the designs for more than 25 theatrical plays, 2 full-length films, short films, music videos. In 2012 she won the NATFA award for Best Stage and Set Designer. Since 2018 she has been an Assistant Professor and leads classes of set design, costume design and scenography in NATFA. The main subjects and interests in her works relate to the use of new technology and multimedia art in scenography. She explores and utilizes the space as a means of communication in contemporary society. Boyana Buchvarova is also a performance artist (“The Portrait” 2018) and founder of “o3” theatrical group in Bulgaria.
Abstract title: SCENOGRAPHY TODAY – THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX
The dynamic changes in art, science and technologies in the late 20th and 21st century lead to the formulation of new concepts about space as a means of communication and action – a space, which is not an obstacle, but an event. Theatre’s major characteristic “here and now” is transforming. It is still happening “now”, but “here” becomes a much broader term. Usually, such transformation takes more time, but in the current situation of Covid-19 we, as scenographers, are obliged to face it directly and rethink our traditions, methods and practices in order to make our worlds not only adjustable, but also meaningful. In order to do that we need to start thinking “outside the box” and combine our knowledge about the past with the boundaries of now and the possibilities of the future. This untypical approach is the subject of this paper. The last year has been very challenging and many scenographers and theatre makers in general will have to leave a blank page in their artistic bios (including the author of this paper). However, it also opened the door for rethinking, revisiting and self-reflection, which is always a good source of inspiration and new beginnings. We will play with imagination and experience and will take a well-known theatrical text, such as “Hamlet” by W. Shakespeare and try to figure out how it could look in today’s circumstances and how could scenography shift from material to non-material (digital). The proposed method may open up “space” for new ideas and new approaches to theatre design. The major purpose is to find out how far we can go in this crossroad of theatre and technologies and not lose the definition and the heart of theatre scenography: its ability to communicate ideas and emotions and create experiences.