Feb. 01, 2012 - Issue #850: Godot
The room is flush with hanging costume bits, dressy knick-nacks and endless sewing supplies: it's the Edmonton Opera Warehouse, where designers are presently engaged in the business of racing to the finish their work for The Mikado. In a few days they'll have to empty out this cozy workspace and head into the Jubilee for a final week of rehearsal, but though quick to point out the photo-finish feel, lead designer Deanna Finnman seems serene in the madness of the moment.
Finnman notes her position is one she fell into: after studying fashion design and art at school, her resume, "passed on to someone through two or three people," ended up netting her a gig at a St Albert theatre camp. "That was maybe 20, 25 years ago," she recalls. She's still at it, and seems to enjoy the little challenges stitched into the role.
"You see that ruffle piece?" she says, pointing to a frilly little yellow number hanging on a rack. "It's going to be this huge collar that fans out on one costume. But how do you weight it? how do you get it to work and how do you get it to work on the person. So everything takes a lot of brainpower."
This particular production marks a rare opportunity for Finnman: the Edmonton Opera rarely creates a show from the ground up—given the sheer number of bodies on stage, it's far more practical to rent costumes than craft from scratch—but director Robert Herriot's vision calls for it: his spin on Gilbert and Sullivan's death-lampooning screwball The Mikado—wherein a wandering musician, hopelessly in love with an already-betrothed woman named Yum Yum, makes a life-and-death deal with her husband-to-be—is a fusion of modern and traditional Japanese culture: harajuku streetwear meets classic kimono style.
"This is a culmination of about a year," she explains, of that vision's realization. "Rob being in Winnipeg and me being here, back and forth with pictures, looking a lot at japanese streetwear and then traditional Japan, and [asking] how the two fuse, and what do they borrow from each other, and that kind of thing.
"We had conversations about what was the world we were creating, and how did these people inhabit that world, and what were their roles," she continues. "We tried to find people in our own modern world—that's where the jumping off point for each of The Mikado's characters was."
Sat, Feb 4, Tue, Feb 7,
Thu, Feb 9 (7:30 pm)
Jubilee Auditorium vueweekly.com comments: powered by Disqus
Vue respects your privacy. We will not forward your personal information to any other organization except as required by law, and will use your e-mail address only to respond to your comments. We reserve the right to edit and remove comments for length, clarity and/or if they are illegal or inappropriate. Your email address is never shown to visitors to vueweekly.com. Read the whole policy at: http://vueweekly.com/privacy