Jones, Robert Edmond

(1887-1954)
   A native of Milton, New Hampshire, Robert Edmond Jones was educated at Harvard University, did some scene design work in New York in 1912, then spent a year observing Max Reinhardt's work at the Deutsches Theatre in Berlin. With his renowned setting for The Man Who Married a Dumb Wife in 1915, he began his long upward trajectory of scene designs (and often lighting and costumes) for Broadway productions. Most importantly, he implemented the revolution in theatrical practice called the New Stagecraft that was begun by Joseph Urban. The theories of Adolphe Appia and Edward Gordon Craig were central to his work; using a limited color palette and simplified visual images and symbols, he rejected 19th-century painted realism.
   Jones's influence continued with his acclaimed productions of Shakespeare for producer Arthur Hopkins: Richard III (1920), Macbeth (1921), and Hamlet (1922). Jones also enjoyed a long association with Eugene O'Neill, first with the Provincetown Players, and later as designer of many of O'Neill's dramas on Broadway, including Desire Under the Elms (1924), The Fountain (1925), The Great God Brown (1926), Mourning Becomes Electra* (1931), Ah, Wilderness!* (1933), and The Iceman Cometh* (1946). Through his long, prolific career Jones designed a range of classic and contemporary plays, including Love for Love (1925), The Green Bay Tree (1933), The Philadelphia Story* (1940), and Lute Song (1946), and he wrote several important books, including Continental Stagecraft (1922; with Kenneth Macgowan) and his widely influential The Dramatic Imagination (1941).

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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