Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department / School


First Advisor

Judith Zivanovic


The purpose of this study was to examine 19th century wing and border painting styles and their implementation in the design of The Drunkard or Down with Demon Drink. The play will be referred to as The Drunkard. This play was produced at Doner Auditorium, Brookings, South Dakota, on July 6, 9, and 10, 1988 and at the Prairie Village Opera House, Madison, South Dakota, on July 16, 17, 21, and 22, 1988. Through personal interviews and hands-on training, research was compiled to formulate background information and painting techniques for the seven settings required for production. A brief study of available material indicated that there had been no text written concerning roll drop scenery, although there are texts on painting techniques, pigments, and binders. Roll drop scenery was part of a valuable form of entertainment but there is little documented evidence. Many opera houses that once used roll drops have been abandoned or demolished to make way for progress and numerous artifacts for study have been lost with them. It is hoped that this study will inspire others to research and learn the painting techniques that were so valuable to a scenic artist. A study of this nature may also supply the information needed for some communities to use multiple roll drop scenery. Since no previous study has been conducted concerning roll drop scenery, the information in this study will be a valuable asset to any individual who wishes to attempt such a fascinating art form. Finally, it is hoped that this study will spark interest in individuals who, like the investigator, mistakenly thought the painting style was too involved to produce successfully on a large scale.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Burton, Brian J. (Brian John). The drunkard or, Down with demon drink!

Theaters -- Stage-setting and scenery

Repertory theater -- South Dakota



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University