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Theater Designer Alan Tagg Dies

November 13, 2002

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LONDON (AP) _ Theater designer Alan Tagg, who produced the scenery for London’s Royal Court Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company in a career spanning four decades, has died at age 74.

Tagg, who also worked on Broadway, died Nov. 4 in a nursing home in west London, his agent Tom Erhardt said Tuesday. Tagg had been frail for some time. The funeral was held Tuesday in Putney, west London.

A designer with an eye for detail, Tagg is probably best known for the original shabby bedsitting room for John Osborne’s searing play, ``Look Back in Anger″ in 1956.

He was one of the first designers to tackle scenery for amphitheaters like those at Chichester and the National Theatre’s Olivier auditorium.

One of his biggest successes came at Chichester in 1965, with a production of Pinero’s ``Trelawney of the Wells.″ He had Victorian footmen in full view unhurriedly move furniture and a carpet and install a chandelier to transform the setting from modest lodgings to a house in upscale Cavendish Square.

The scenery for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s acclaimed 1970 revival of Boucicault’s ``London Assurance″ won Tagg a nomination in the London Theatre Critics’ annual awards.

An unassuming man, Tagg believed that scenery should never draw attention to itself, but simply provide the backdrop _ ``just as long as the actors don’t bump into it.″

His designs for Broadway included Peter Shaffer’s ``Black Comedy″ in 1966 and ``Lettice and Lovage″ in 1990.

Born at Sutton-in-Ashfield in central England, Tagg trained at the Old Vic Theatre School. He never married.

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