Thursday, November 15, 2007

Copenhagen | Firsts and Sixths

My trip has begun and I’ve made it well over half way as I wait here at the Copenhagen airport for my connecting flight to Warsaw. This airport is a beautiful one; hardwood floors and the cheap furnishings at the varied shops and restaurants take design cues from the Danish modern aesthetic that made this neck of the woods so very famous over the past 60 years.

I am immediately reminded of the general European commitment to fashion that we do not see in the states. We don’t see it in this mainstream “everyone’s doing it” kind of way, at least. The basic uniform for the average male urbanite seems to include trousers of a fine fabric and flattering slim fit, colorful collared shirts with ties and sweaters, and a torso hugging wool coat that at least covers your bum, but more likely goes to the knee. Colorful, actively designed accessories are commonplace and feel welcome as their wrapped around a neck, displayed on a wrist or tucked in a breast welt. And then there’s the shoes….the beautiful slim, pointy shoes that will forever leave a flat-footer like myself feeling envious.

My flight seemed short and was a piece of cake as SAS Airlines made over 9 hours in the air remarkably comfortable and pleasant.

I’m dehydrated and can already feel my skin freaking out from the change in climate, the dingy airport air, and forthcoming stresses of a major project for me and my career. Great.

In so many ways I feel completely equipped for this trip, and am ready to sink my teeth into something so new and exciting. I’ve already done a sizable bit of work on the project and the feedback has been positive and encouraging. A solid direction for costumes is developing, and I’ll be working with Bob and the other designers over the course of the next 13 days to craft a more specific plan that suits the production. While my experience in theatre is relatively limited, it is this sort of collaboration that excites me most and keeps me engaged with the medium. Drawing for a specific character with a specific identity seems a bore – but Mr. Wilson generally tosses these bold limitations out the door and lets a concept drive the work; an aesthetic, a set of movements, and not much more than a generalized character moniker like “crow” or “young man” are what stay firmly in place from the start. The rest is left to us to decide…I’m given a chance to play artist/sculptor/designer all at once, using the performer’s bodies as the place where my ideas will happen. It’s all quite wonderful, and perfectly liberating for an artist who wants to design for the stage. The ordinary this and that of conventional theatre remains far too tight, and certainly too predetermined for my liking. The ideas that turn up over the next two weeks here in Warsaw wont be realized as real costumes until next fall when the show hits the stage in October of 2008. I hope this lengthy timeline is a gift and not a chance for ideas to become stale overtime. I suppose its our job as designers to make sure that doesn’t happen.

With confidence and assurance out in the open, I’m also feeling equally clueless about what will happen in the next two weeks. This is yet another addition to a long string of firsts for me – my first trip to Poland, my first serious project with Bob Wilson, my first professional project in theatre, my first piece for the stage (in Europe nonetheless!), my first string of complex business negotiations, my first chance to draw up a collection of costumes with a right hand that is more or less useless for the time being, and my list could go on. But, without firsts we cant have seconds. And I’m quite determined to not merely have firsts and seconds of this sort in my life, but thirds and fourths and fifths. Sixths, even!


Blogger rachel said...

Have a blast Mikey!!!

8:35 AM  

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