I based this stage design on a famous coming-of-age novel, Demian, by the German novelist, Hermann Hesse.

The story is about a boy, Emil Sinclair, and his psychological growth from youth to adulthood. Raised in a middle-class home, Sinclair follows the model life prescribed by his family. One day, Max Demian appears, and Demian and Sinclair become friends. As he experiences his world with Demian, Sinclair eventually finds himself and comes to know what he really wants. 

Sinclair lives in a “real” outer world and an inner world. The real world is represented by moral life with his family and his school, whereas the inner world is where his unconscious desires are revealed. I made scenes that show Sinclair’s struggle between these two contrasting domains. I thought of Sinclair's real world as an immature and monotonous space that looks rather like the rough paper drawings that a little Sinclair might illustrate. On the contrary, Sinclair’s inner world is a dark and sensitive black and white scene.

Real world - On the street 
This is the village where Demian and Sinclair live.

Real world - Chestnut tree road 
Demian and Sinclair walk home under chestnut-lined streets, talking to each other about various topics that affect Sinclair.

Inner world - Sinclair’s room and his dream

(...) We had stood before my parents' house after he had told me his version of the story of Cain. Then he had mentioned the old, half-hidden coat of arms situated in the keystone above our entrance. He had said that such things interested him and that one ought to attend to them.

That night I dreamed of Demian and the coat of arms. It kept changing continuously. Demian held it in his hand, often it was diminutive and gray, often powerful and varicolored, but he explained to me that it was always one and the same thing. In the end he obliged me to eat the coat of arms! When I had swallowed it, I felt to my horror that the heraldic bird was coming to life inside me, had begun to swell up and devour me from within. Deathly afraid I started up in bed, awoke. (...)

I felt that this scene was a highlight of the story. It symbolically shows Sinclair’s departure from the moral, everyday “real” world. Sinclair sees a heraldic bird in his family’s coat of arms in a dream.
This scene is only described by Sinclair’s monologue. The heraldic bird is a symbolic entity that represent Sinclair himself. So I created the bird at a relatively large size for the audience to feel the bird’s oppressive influence on Sinclair.

Egg Structure 

(...)“The bird fights its way out of the egg. The Egg is the world. Who would be born must first destroy a world. The bird flies to God. That God’s name is Abraxas.”(...)

The egg represents Sinclair’s familiar world, home, and his parents. He eventually breaks out of this “real” outer world to the “realer” inner world.

Research & Sketches

Real world - On the street 

Real world - Chestnut tree road 

Inner world - Sinclair’s room and his dream

Personal project 
Original story: Demian by Hermann Hesse 
Performance location: National Theater of Korea 
Scale model size : 28 x 29 x 30cm (H)

Creator : Chusu Kim

Thanks for advice and assistance 
Aeran Jung, Young Min Choi, DoYun Kim, Sue Hae Sung

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