Sunday, August 15, 2010

Julie Taymor

My dad and I find Taymor's work to be fascinating. I remember we went to see one of her exhibits when I was younger. Her wearable puppets dwarfed me and made me feel powerless. At a stand still, some of her designs, costumes, and puppets look down right intimidating. And then they start moving..... Well, about a decade later this is what I'm trying to do with my own wearable artwork, albeit no puppets, yet.

Taymor is best known for her work with Broadway's "The Lion King". Personally, I don't think this is her best work. If you've seen her work with the recent revival of Mozart's "The Magic FLute", you know what I'm talking about. The costumes are unbelievably gorgeous and dream-like. Just take a look at the dancing bears scene;

Julie Taymor Puppets Pictures, Images and Photos

While the bears look large and bulky, they're actually very light weight. Taymor uses light weight fabric as a skin and plastic pipes as a skeleton. Not only does this make the puppets easier to operate, but they flow with a kind of grace. However, not everything Julie does is pleasing to the eye and mind.

One production she worked on was a modern version of Shakespeare's "Titus Andronicus." While this is regarded as Shakespeare's worst play, this interpretation was quite shocking and gruesome. This play isn't the typical "viewer friendly" one that most common theatre goers would take a date to, in fact that would be the last thing you'd want to do. "Titus" has a plot based around common themes found in mainstream media today; rape, murder, villainy, and organized crime. Unlike movies and TV shows today, there is no happy ending. It's about a Roman general who is engaged in a seemingly endless cycle of revenge against the Queen of the Goths. As the plot thickens, others are pulled into the general's obsessive vengeance, leading to sons being sacrificed and murdered, assassinations, rape and mutilations (tongue and hands cut off) of daughters, and much more. So, to quench your inevitable blood thirst after the description, here's a still from the movie;


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