Speechless: Costumes, sets, action...

With some free time thanks to the end of year festivities, I have been able to start thinking about what Speechless will look like. I know how it will sound.

I have a wonderful lighting person, costume person and assistant director that I think will work well. A preliminary lighting design has come through - it's going to work great. Lots of vertical fluros coming from the roof. I can work with these. They can trace performer movement and cluster and lots of other things.

The brief for the production team, of which i consider myself very much a part, is 'installation' and 'performance art'. Not 'theatre' and 'opera'. For this reason I have chosen a young fashion grad rather than an established theatre costume designer. I also realised i have a very clear idea in my head about what I am after, and i started a Pinterest board to help try and communicate thoughts with the team. I have also been making drawings to try and communicate the ideas of what the costumes should do.

This is important because in this project, the costume is the set. It is with and through the costume, and related items, that the performers will interact. As the music is abstract - there are solos and duos and all the other frameworks of opera, the costumes will provide the work with the actions. They provide the tools for the performer interactions. They will accommodate as well as be the props - from small items such as papers, water bottles, mobile phones, clothing, maybe even snacks to odd shoes, strings, rubbish, walls of fabric, supports. They will also provide a way to link the soloists with their section of the choir.

My drawings are too bad to share here... but I finally feel like I am getting somewhere. The themes for the design come out of the music and support or relate to the 'theme' of the work itself: shelter, connection, serverance, joining, commonality, belonging/not belonging, memory, ephemera, identity, missing part, being trapped and of course, speechless.

SpeechlessCat Hope