Textural juxtaposition| Representing the natural and the human in Elements

by Kathryn M McGaughey

Institution: California State University, Long Beach
Year: 2017
Keywords: Design; Theater; Textile research
Posted: 02/01/2018
Record ID: 2155266
Full text PDF: http://pqdtopen.proquest.com/#viewpdf?dispub=10258312


The costume design for the physical theatre piece Elements uses juxtaposition of the human clothing with that of the natural elements to reinforce the premise of an empty, mechanical world where the void echoes with meaningless routine and two people perform the motions of life without noticing one another until nature interferes. The constructed world is a normal, everyday human existence, and the crisp, tidy office wear worn by the two human characters, Sally and Avi, reflects this. In contrast, the costumes for the ensemble representing the elements of air, earth, fire, and water are approached from a figurative perspective, playing with texture achieved through Shibori dyeing techniques to give each actor characteristics of more than one natural element at a time. The tension between the cardboard-cutout world of the humans and the natural world is visually reflected through textural contrasts and asymmetrical silhouettes.