MA Costume Design for Performance graduates launched our LCFMA18 season, at Sadler’s Wells, last week to a full audience in one of the most captivating, emotionally-moving and politically-charged shows in recent history. Topics addressed this year by the designers included sustainability and deforestation in the Amazon, militant Suffragettes, dementia, and beauty conformity, to name a few. Here’s what went down at our MA18 show.
Kelly Murray with ‘Pussy Protest’ celebrates mass women’s protest as part of the Pussy Project. The costume draws parallels between the Suffragettes and modern women fighting for equality. Militant Suffragettes used window breaking as a form of protest which here is used as a bridge between the movement of the past and present. The performer was Di Sherlock.
The second performance was ‘Ballerina’ by Wen Shi. The performance aimed to show the struggle of a ballerina, whose dream is to pursue a professional dance career, which comes with hardship and sacrifices in order to fulfil her aims. The performer was Lydia MacKenzie.
‘Accepting Loneliness’ by designer Nuri Na and performer Verena Schneider was next up. Nuri sought to investigate issues of loneliness and seeking lonely relationships with others. The performance explores human obsession with ourselves, anxiety and alienation.
This was followed by Andie Scott’s ‘Liminal Acts: Heloise and Abelard.’ The touching costume and performance took the form of an autobiographical Haikus, written as text messages during the breast cancer treatment Andie’s partner went through. 12th-century philosopher Abelard inveigled himself into his pupil Heloise’s affections. Their passionate relationship scandalised Parisian society when her uncle took revenge and had Abelard castrated. The performer was Sadiq Ali.
‘Onibaba’ the demon hag by Dariah Osterhage was the next performance. Here the demon hag lives with her daughter-in-law in the desolate grasslands of Edo Japan. The two kill samurai warriors and sell their armour in order to survive. The performer was Yumino Seki.
Ye Liu and her performance of ‘The Tokyo Zodiac Murders’ was next. Based on the debut mystery novel written by Soji Shimada, which describes a murder case which took place in Japan in 1936, where a murderer killed five people and disguised the evidence by using a smart trick to dismember the corpses. The performer was Aimee Blow.
‘Multiple Personalities’ by Han Li followed Ye Liu. This was one of the more humorous performances despite this costume incorporating manic depression into the design in response to Kurt Cobain’s documentary ‘Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck.’ The performer was Hendrick January.
Margaux Colnard closed the first-half of the show with her performance ‘Peau D’âne.’ This fairytale tells the story of a beautiful princess, whose father, the King wants to marry her after the death of the Queen. The performer and music composer was Ingerine Dahl.
The second part of the show was opened by Andrea Fiquitiva and her performance ‘Hollow Beauty’ which was enacted by Fraser Buchanan. The standardisation of beauty by the media and the negative impacts it has on society was the inspiration behind her work. The performance was based on ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ by Oscar Wilde, and explores the themes of obsession with beauty and defying the natural ageing processes.
‘The Princess In The Suit Of Leather’ by Zhiqian Li was the next performance. Here the tale of a princess whose father has incestuous desires and wants to marry her because she resembles her dead mother, the Queen. The performer was Emma Fischer.
The next performance was based on the Greek myth ‘Pygmalion’ and designed by Geyi Zhou. Pygmalion was a sculptor and according to his ideas of perfect female beauty carved an ivory statue of a woman. The performer was Elisa Chou Hsieh.
The colourful Welber Leao was next out with his performance, ‘El Dorado Karajá.’ Inspired by the traditional costume of the Brazilian tribe Karajá, the performance represented the devastating impact that mining for gold and precious minerals is having on the ecosystem. The performer was Maria Ghoumrassi.
Ziyuan Wang’s ‘Nine Songs: Hymn On The Lady Of River Xiang’ was inspired by the ancient Chinese poem of the Xiang River Goddess. The poem describes an unsuccessful pursuit of two lovers, who can never physically meet. The hymn of the Lady of River Xiang discusses her psychological dilemma and in the performance, she is set within the context of contemporary society. Gana Bayarsaikhan was the performer.
‘Melusina’ by Sophie Meyer was based on the Luxembourgish legend of ‘Melusina’, who married Count Siegfried of Luxembourg under the condition that on each Saturday she would be left alone in her chambers. The curious Siegfried peeks through many years later to learn to his horror she turns into a mermaid. The performer was Eve Niker.
This was followed by ‘My Mother’s Clothes’ by Emma Lyth. The performance took inspiration from ‘My Mother’s Clothes’ by Jeanette Montgomery Barron who used photographs of her mother’s clothing as a recall for her as her memories slipped away with dementia. The performer was Veronica Roberts.
Max Nicholson-Lailey and his performance of ‘Blue’ was next at Sadler’s Wells. Max picked the colour blue because it is the least commonly occurring colour in the natural world, but the most beguiling and culturally significant. He translated the vastness of the colour and what it means across different cultures globally in his performance, which was enacted by Inês Pinheiro.
The final performance of the show was ‘Morphogenesis: Emotions’ by Hana Zeqa. This performance was a hypothetical merging of emotional processes and their reactions in our body, with biological processes of shape and formation, known as Morphogenesis. The costume and performance captured love and flirtation in non-verbal, intentional actions based on externalised intimate emotions. The performer was Amy Cartwright.
All images by Emmi Hyyppa
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