The Architect/Builder: Francisco Reynders Born: 1929-30 Died October 10, 1996
Francisco Reynders (Frans) held an M.A. (Middlebaar Acte) from the Institute of Art Teaching, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherland. In the early fifties, Frans and Marcel Marceau were classmates in Eltenne Decroux’s mime academy in Paris, France. Other alumni of this academy include the famous mime Jean-Louis Barrault.
In 1967 he arrived in Oregon as Assistant Professor of Theater at Lewis and Clark College where he taught mime, costume design and theater analysis. He designed as well as directed many plays and mime productions. He founded the Oregon Mime Theater in 1972 and directed and performed with the group until 1984. In 1977 this multi-talented artist was appointed as a Consultant-Adviser to the Dance Panel of the National Endowment of the Arts, Washington, DC.
From 1959-67 Frans was a set and costume designer for New York theater and industrial productions. He also worked as the Scenic Artist and Sculptor for Fellers Scenery Studios, New York and as the Art director for the Graven Motion Picture Studio, New York where he designed commercials for clients that included Westinghouse, Texaco, Kellogg, and Revlon.
Francisco Reynders’ artistry as a set designer and scenic artist enchanted Pacific Northwest audiences for many years. He designed and executed numerous productions for the Portland Opera. These credits included: the critically acclaimed sets for the company’s 985 production of Martha, the 1986 production The Marriage of Figaro, Allen Charles Klein’s production of Der Rossenkavalier (painting and sculpture) in 1987 and in 1989 the sets and costumes for the company’s production of Aida.
In 1988 Frans opened a production studio for the Portland Opera. The first project executed in this studio was The Magic Flute. Critics claimed that his sets and costumes added to the huge success of the opera and was thought by many to be the crown jewel of Portland Opera’s productions at that time.
Ballet credits included: design and execution of Pacific Ballet Theater’s (no Oregon Ballet Theater) original Nutcracker, sets and costumes for Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Seattle Slew, the 1990 production of Ken Kesey’s Tricker and the Big Bear for Eugene Ballet, a traveling Nutcracker set for Hawaii Ballet; the 1991 Nutcracker set for Eugene Ballet.
He also designed sets for the Lake Oswego production of the musical Three Penny Opera and various productions for Portland Repertory Theater, the Jefferson Dancers, and Ballet West in Salt Lake City.
Frans had also produced countless other works of art including: the 180 foot mural at Creative Gymnastics in Beaverton, two bronze busts for the Scottish Rite in 1992, the 1995 video production of Leonardo de Filipe’s The Saint of Auschwitz, and most recently 22 paintings in preparation for an exhibition. He also wrote, produced, and starred in “The Life of an Artist”, the first four-act mime play presented in the United States, and first staged at the Portland Art Museum in 1973.