Wednesday, 20 April 2011

'Fireworks' by Robert Van Egghen illustrated

As a little project i was asked to illustrated this poem for an anthology of creative writing students' work at the UEA. The abstract nature of the language and imagery of poetry influenced these paper cutouts.

and here they are with the poem

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Swan Lake stage design

This project was inspired by the week i spent in February out and about in London. During this week i saw The Russian State Ballet of Siberia's production of Swan Lake, as well as the Diaghilev and the Ballet Russes exhibition, and the Theatre and Performance sections of the Victoria and Albert. Up until this point i had been fairly ignorant of both theatre and ballet, and these experiences, as well as seeing the play The Woman in Black, opened my eyes to the artistic merit of theatre, ballet, and in particular stage design. While the brilliant use of minimal staging, props, and clever uses of sound and lighting of The Woman in Black to achieve a fully immersive effect was great, unfortunately the design of the ballet wasn't nearly as effective.

So for this project i endeavored to design the staging in such a way that I thought was respectful to the traditional side of the ballet, and at the same time gave it more of a contemporary look. I also wanted to reference back to the folk tale visuals that the story is based on, and give it my own twist.

The following images are photos of the maquettes i made for each of the 4 acts or scenes of the ballet.

Act 1 takes place in the castle grounds. Prince Siegfried, must choose a wife at his birthday ball. Upset he cannot marry for love he escapes to the forest, following a flock of swans overhead.

In act 2 Siegfried meets Odette, a beautiful woman, who under evil sorcerer von Rothbart's spell appears as a swan during the day. They fall in love, Rothbart appears, Siegfried threatens to kill him, however if Rothbart dies before the spell is broken, it can never be undone.

Act 3 takes place in the castle. Von Rothbart and his daughter Odile, in disguise as Odette fool Siegfried into taking her as his wife. Siegfried sees the real Odette and realises his mistake, but its too late.

In the final act Siegfried returns to the lake to find Odette. He apologises, but von Rothbart appears and tries to pull the lovers apart. They realise the spell cannot be broken, and that the only way they can be together is in death. They jump into the lake and drown, breaking Rothbarts spell, who loses his powers and also dies.