Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Yes, you, Ms TB, on the west coast, you have a question?

Tangobaby is interviewing people, and I adore how thoughtful she is about the interviews she has conducted so far - so I am threw my hat in her ring - and here are the results.

Here's "The Rules."

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the questions).
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions and link to me.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

1. I know that you and Red Shoes met through the Tango blogosphere, but you are both impassioned theatre professionals and seem like soul sisters, if I may add an observation. If you could collaborate on a dream theatre project with her, which one would it be? Give us juicy details of what it might look like and how your aesthetics would compliment each others. (Who knows, maybe it will come true?!)

You make me blush! But in racking my brains to come up with a project we could have fun with, I went to the classics (a trend with me), and I think one of the best challenge plays that we could work on together is Waiting for Godot. How do you make characters who never change clothes, never leave the stage, and nothing changes interesting for 2 hours?
I am a HUGE fan of lighting designers, they make what I do look good. They can also make things look bad, so I always work closely with them and we use our palettes together in a way that is harmonious (even when your end results is supposed to be unharmonious) – and enhances the environ of the characters. And from what little I have had the pleasure of glimpsing into her work, and knowing about her work (one of her Glasgow-ian fellow adventures is a student in my department where I teach!), I bet we would have a great collaboration! :o)

2. Looking back on your tango past, what has been the greatest unexpected gift from tango? What has been the biggest disappointment?

Wow, I have had to sit on this question for awhile…. And my past is not that deep! Only two years…. But I would have to say though, that the greatest unexpected gift has been the connections with people, some of which have translated off the dance floor. A whole new world of people has entered my realm, and I am grateful for them. Some of whom I have yet to meet!

The biggest disappointment??? I have yet to find it. And I think I am grateful for that as well, I tend to not brook deep disappointments well….

3. As a costume designer, what have been some of your favorite designs? What inspires you when you sit down to design? How many different disciplines do you draw from and who or what are some of your muses?

I take from everything and anything when I design. I post research images from the era if it is period, from folks that I find from that era that resonate with me, paintings that resonate with the feeling I want to give the character, pictures of my actors, swatches of fabric that have the feel, drape, look, etc., of what I want to use. If you just walked into my office, you would think that a library and fabric store had a whirlwind romance near my desk and draped bits and pieces of their affair around my work space.
I had an image from a Zulu warrior above me when I was designing Henry V, then there was the day I realized Eleanor Roosevelt was speaking to my Lady Augusta from The Importance of Being Ernest. If it speaks to me, I use it, sometime I never know what it has said, but I know it was important. Such as the image of Monet’s Geisha while designing Pinter’s “Betrayal” – to this day I don’t know what her impact was, but I know that she was impactful at the time.

Some of my favorite work has been that which has surprised me the most. Or productions I loved the most. There has yet to be a Shakespeare project I have not loved working on, but it is usually the supporting characters I have the most fun with, not the leads. The leads have to be “pretty” in what ever way that show calls for pretty. But for example, Emilia from Othello, how do you dress a woman who is married to a man whom she desperately wants to please, to the point of unthinking betrayal, even though he outwardly despises her? These are the challenges I love.

4. Besides dance and design, what other creative pursuits do you enjoy? Are there other artistic adventures you'd like to embark on but just don't have the time right now? What would be the next creative endeavour you'd like to undertake, if you could?

Most of my other pursuits are those of a more passive creative bent. I am a voracious reader, I am always reading multiple books. I have partially written one book based on my experiences working in intimate apparel that I have already titled “My Life as a Bra Queen”, I have written an unpublished children’s book about a beloved pet pug who has cancer and goes in for treatment (an effort to help children understand illness, no publishers were interested though). I used to write a lot more than I do now.
I also knit, nothing intricate or super difficult, but I find it very relaxing and kind of zen. I had to learn how to knit on a movie shoot where we needed garter ties and had none, so I stayed up one night making 8 pairs.

What I would absolutely love to do though, is learn how to paint. There is something so enticing about a prepped canvas and a drawer full of gorgeous pigments in oil…. I would love to be a painter and translate how I see. And now that I am typing this, perhaps this will be the next endeavor.

5. When you are feeling creative, what kinds of music do you listen to and why? Do you listen to tango music when you are designing?

Ha! No, I do not listen to tango music when working, I do listen to tango music often, Sorin has it on in the car, and I have a tango playlist on my ipod. But it depends on what I am working on as to what I listen to when I design, certain music inspires certain moods with me, and that can help with my process. I am a huge Annie Lenox fan, especially when I need a moody environment. Dar Williams for light hearted. I need a certain vibe around me, so the music helps along with posting inspiration around me. Inspiration could be art work, images, research images, and even words or phrases from the play itself or from me…. I had a question once posted above my desk when working on “The Bog of Cats” that was “If I was going to burn my house and kill my child on my jilted wedding day in order to punish the man I love, what sort of gown would I wear? Here is the answer:

Sting, David Bowie (old school Bowie), 30’s big band music, modern swing music, ABBA, David Gray, Ella Fitzgerald, Garbage, Elvis Costello, Sarah McLachlan…. These are all on my “working” play list on iTunes.
I have to say though, often the music does not seem to go with the design work. I remember listening to David Bowie a lot when working on Hamlet one summer…..

Basically, whatever gets the noggin boppin, is how I go.


tangobaby said...

oh oh oh! This is just perfect reading... you and Red Shoes in the same night.

I'm DYING to see your workroom! Can you take more photos for us?

Thanks for the wonderful answers. I think we should try to get you and Red Shoes together for Waiting for Godot, don't you? But I think you should come out here...


Thanks for playing!

ModernTanguera said...

I would call myself a seamstress, but definitely not a designer when it comes to clothing. Your process is FASCINATING to me! I would love to see your work space. ;) Also, your iTunes playlist makes me smile.

If you have questions for me, I would enjoy being interviewed.

Debbi said...

MT - I would love to, e-mail me at debbi.does.design at gmail.com

Tangobaby - I will take some pictures and post them. Funny, my first thought was to clean it all up, but that would defeat the purpose, yes? ;o)
I have the feeling I will darken the doorstep of SF soon, so I can meet both you and the amazing Ms Red Shoes..... as well as visit Ghirardelli!

Red Shoes said...

Ooh! I would love to do Waiting for Godot with you. It is static, but there are so many possibilities there for incredibly subtle movement...fun!

There were three kids from your school with me this summer! Elizabeth, Aaron and Danielle. :)

I'll get to putting together more questions for you sooooon...!