SLOWLY - Play by Howard Barker, Directed by Zoe Grisedale Sherry
Costumes & Props - Eliza Bennett - 2017
SIGN - a suicide. A woman of profound conformity
CALF - the subject of an atrocity. A woman of profound conformity
PAPER - a willing whore. A woman of profound conformity
BELL - a reluctant whore. A woman of profound conformity
Four women of nobility, their civilisation at its tumultuous end. Each character grapples with the decision of whether to live a degraded life or die with dignity.
‘A woman of profound conformity’ being the reference given after each character name. I began by thinking of conformity, and historical narratives which define periods of history in terms of social-norms and subversive behaviours. I decided not to introduce any particular period for the costumes and keep the focus on the individual women and their predicament. The plain black draped robes would hide their bodies, assisting in their perceived stillness, and at the same time keep the audience focused on hand gesture and features. The script, visually rich in symbol and metaphor, inspired a vision of four hairpieces in the form of nooses, one for each character, of varying length depending on their conviction around the idea of suicide. I hung the hair noose in descending order like that of the players. Within each noose a sound recording of the character’s monologue, sounding like incomprehensible chatter upon approaching, however when encountering each one closely a sense of the individual’s qualities becomes apparent. Their robes laid out on the floor, mark the departed. In front of each is placed the characters related symbol, raised up on black stands with the intention of alluding to their essence living on… "Disappearing in one form, reappearing in another".