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Published by Guest, 2017-03-07 09:27:37

A.Okun_Theatrical Design Book 3.7.17

A.Okun_Theatrical Design Book 3.7.17

Keywords: POINT OF VIEW Design for Theater,By Alexander L. Okun


Copyright 2017 - All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval
system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or
otherwise without the prior permission from the artist or his representative.

Alexander L. Okun E-Mail: [email protected]

Dedicated to all my family

Alex & Lucy Okun
Special thanks to Lyudmila Grine-v-Okun, my supporter, my biggest helper, like-minded colleague,
great scenic painter and at the same time my dear wife! Without her this book would not exist.


Scenic & Costume Designer

Alexander Okun began his career in 1965 at the Moscow Art Theater, where he
designed several productions by A. Chekhov and F. Dostoevsky for several years.
He designed sets and costumes for more than eighty productions including
Puccini’s “Turandot” opera at the Royal Albert Hall in London; “Last Summer in
Chulimsk” by A. Vampilov at the Moscow Ermolova Theater, where Mr Okun was
awarded the prestigious USSR’s Ministry of Culture Award (equivalent to the Tony
Award); and he won first place for “Best Production” at the International Copernicus
Drama Festival for “End of Book Number Six” by E. Brashkevich at the Moscow
Maykovsky Theater.

Alexander Okun immigrated to the US in 1981 and has designed over forty
productions nationwide. Among them are “Three Sisters” by A. Chekhov at the
Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., directed by Zelda Fichandler; “Transported Heads”
at the Philadelphia Music Festival and the Lincoln Center in New York City, directed
by Julie Taymur; the Broadway musical “Roza” in Baltimore, Los Angeles and New
York City, directed by Harold Prince; “Cyrano de Bergerac” in Houston, directed by
G. Boyd; the “Tales of Hoffman” opera in Wilmington, directed by J. Bookspan; Six
Degrees of Separation” in Seattle, directed by D. Saint; and “Doll House” directed by
M. Bookker at the Giva in Rochester, New York and ASOLO in Sarasota, Florida;
Shakespear’s “The Tempest” at Center Stage with Stan Wojewodski Jr; and “The
Idiot” at Dallas Theater’s Center and Trinity Repertory Company with director Jonas
Jurasas, for which he received the Dallas Critics Award amongst others.

Alexander Okun was also art director for The Patrick McBride Company and a
consultant for Walt Disney Imagineering. Some of his artwork & renderings are
currently in Theatrical Museums and private collections.

The Bremen Town Musicians

A fairy tale by Brothers Grimm I Directed by Y. Gubenko I Yermolova Theater, Moscow 1972

Last Summer in Chulimsk The scale model photo at left, and the
Costume sketch above.
By A. Vampilov I Directed by V. Andreev,
Yermolova Theater, Moscow 1974

Last Summer in Chulimsk

Scenic design for the Exhibition on the 90th anniversary I By A. Vampilov I Directed by
V. Andreev, Yermolova Theater, Moscow 1974

Front elevation “Bar” Scene one

The Tales of Hoffman

Opera by Jacques Offenbach I Directed by Janet Bookspan I Opera Theater Co., Wilmington,
DE 1992

The Tales of Hoffman

Scene Two

The Tales of Hoffman

“Coppelius” Scene three I Opera by Jacques Offenbach I Opera Theater Co., Wilmington,
DE 1992

The Tales of Hoffman

Final scene, Venice I Opera by Jacques Offenbach I Opera Theater Co., Wilmington, DE 1992

The Idiot, Top: Front elevation. Bottom: Photo from production

The Idiot

By Feodor Dostoyevsky
Adaptation of the novel
Conceptual drawing

Directed by Jonas Jurasas I Dallas Theater Center, TX, 1987

100 Years Later In A Birch Grove

By V. Korostylev I Directed by S. Desnitsky I Moscow Art Theater, 1967 Project

100 Years Later In A Birch Grove, Design concept

End of Book VI: Costume sketches I Photo from production

End of Book VI

By Ezhi Broshkevich I Directed by E. Radomyslensky & A. Goncharov I Maykovsky Theater,
Moscow 1968

Turandot Costume Sketches

Turandot by Puccini

Directed by E. Platon I London Opera Co., at The Royal Albert Hall, 2001

Roza Musical by Gilbert Becaud

Directed by Harold Prince I Broadway production at The Royal Theater, NYC I The Mark Taper
Forum, LA, CA I Center Stage, Baltimore, MD 1986 - 1987 I Presentation rendering 36” x 48”

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Roza, Conceptual rendering by Alexander Okun

Once he has agreed to direct Roza, Prince begins to collaborate on the set design. “I get
rhythm out of the way a show looks, and my failures have usually been when I haven’t
known what a show should look like,” he says. Five months before the first day of rehearsals,
Prince calls a meeting to introduce his designer, Alexander Okun, and Okun’s model of the
set to key members of his Roza production team, lighting designer Ken Billington,
choreographer Pat Birch, and Georgia Brown, his star. “I ask for the impossible,” Prince
says, “and I got it.” On a sharp slant Okun has constructed the set of the apartment house
where Roza lives; in addition to Roza’s apartment the set contains parts of the apartments of
four of her neighbors connected by a serpentine stairway that winds and curves, rises and
falls, from one side of the model to the other. “It looks like a print by Escher, doesn’t it?”
Prince crows. “That comes from the illusion that’s created of the stairs going down as they
go up. Most of the action, in Roza’s room, is to be played three flights up, and yet that room
is lower than the other apartments which are actually on lower floors.” Okun’s dazzling set is
a visual trick that typifies Prince’s love of illusion, making the audience see something that
actually isn’t there.


Roza cast, photo by Martne Swope
Roza, opening night poster


By M. Stewart I Directed by Mourin Show I The Egg Theater, Albany, NY 1987


By M. Stewart I Directed by Mourin Show I The Egg Theater, Albany, NY 1987


By M. Stewart I Directed by Mourin Show I The Egg Theater, Albany, NY 1987

The Lady-Fool

By Lope de Vega I Directed by E. Radomyslensky I The Moscow Theater for Film Actors,
1970, 2009

Above: Scale model
Left: Costume sketches

Above: Photo from production

The Chekhov’s Pages

By Anton Chekhov I Directed by E. Radomyslensky, Moscow Art Theater, Moscow 1976

Aladdin costume sketches

Aladdin Musical

By D. Buck I Directed by Peter Webb I The Egg Theater, Albany, NY, 1986 I Theater Festival
in Jerash, Jordan, 1986

Aladdin costume sketches

The Dawns Here Are Quite

By Boris Vasilyev I Directed by E. Radomyslensky, Havana, Cuba, 1975

Three Fat Men; Youth Ballet Group I Choreography by Igor Moiseev

Cyrano de Bergerac

By Edmond Rostand I Directed by Gregory Boyd, Alley Theater, Houston, TX 1993
Prolog: Back stage

Cyrano de Bergerac

Sets for the royal stage

Cyrano de Bergerac, top: Front elevation theater I Bottom: “Aras” front elevation

Cyrano Scene two, tower Scene, tavern

Scene three, Aras Scene four, Roxane’s bedroom


Directed by S. Desnitsky I Moscow Art Theater (project) 1972

Shelmenko - Orderly

By Kvitk Osnovynenko I Directed by B. Filippov, Perm State Theater 1977

Richard III

By W. Shakespeare I Directed by Barbara Gains I Shakespeare Repertory Theater,
Chicago, IL. 1996

Conceptual drawings

Richard III

Ceiling netting

Richard III Chicago, IL., Final scene

Front elevation I Directed by Jonas Jurasas, Mass., Berkshire Festival, 1998

Transit of Venus

By Maureen Hunter I Directed by Jonas Jurasas

Richard III

Scene: Temptation I By W. Shakespeare I Directed by Jona Jurasas, Vilnius, Lithuania, 1999

Richard III Mathers revolt

Infantilism Execution Crash - Finale

N. Gogol I Costume sketch, general

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