Winning Conceptual Design project for the Prague Quadrennial design festival 2020.
During the first Lockdown in 2020 four design students from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and I designed The White Plague by Karel Čapek. Meeting over zoom and mentored by the Prague team we designed 30+ costumes and four co-existing worlds for this conceptual imagining of the play. We presented our work through a combination of hand rendered and digital techniques with programs such as Cinema4D, AutoCAD, Sketch-up, Indesign and Photoshop. I am pleased to say that we were selected by the panel as winning finalists to feature in the PQ exhibition celebrating the 80 years of Karel Capek's life's work in 2021. Designers: Josie Bellerby, Emeline Beroud, Hannah Drumm, Joe Loftin and Tomás Palmer (August 2020).
Choreography & Story Boards
This was our submission statement:
The White Plague is an eerily resonant text. We have set our site-specific design inside a WW2 wind testing facility in Bedford. We found that the military history of the building and its industrial architecture accommodates Capek’s work, while reflecting our wish to explore what a modern performance would need to engage with. The Wind tunnel’s architecture offers an ability to create dynamics between performer and audience in a way that highlights and investigates the play’s themes. The space has inspired costumes and set pieces that frame each scene whilst breaking the industrial logic. For instance Galen’s clinic is open and at the centre of her community, whilst Sigelius’ fluorescently lit bubble-office is exclusive, insular and ultimately futile.
We have proposed a promenade performance (without interval), in order to allow for the story and audience to flow through the three levels of the Wind tunnel. Slow moments such as the bubble’s expansion and other transitions give our audiences time to travel between scenes and allow a pause for thought. The costumes combine comic silhouettes and nostalgic colours. We would like to draw attention to the sheer ridiculousness of the characters and the extreme situations they find themselves in. The nostalgic colours suggest our collective amnesia and its relation power and oppression, regardless of era.
Moving forward it would be wonderful to see how we could collaborate with a composer, a projection artist and the local community to develop our proposals.