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Recent designs for the stage from
The images presented here are drawn from on-going costume and stage designs developed for a non existent opera titled the Downfall (strictly a working title, it mimics the historic cycles of empires we’ve come to know and love so well). While there is yet, no music or libretto nor even a composer for this imaginary opera, I’ve decided to move ahead and rough out a visual narrative on my own. An ad hoc composite of Greek and Roman mythology, Biblical fairytales, and topical political intrigues fed through a tongue and cheek stylistic filter inspired by vintage Surrealism constitutes my modus. A project in flux, the story remains, intentionally, a collection of vignettes and fragments open to adjustments as real events unfold. Within the staging, all the singers and performers are presented as in death, occasionally dismembered or violently disfigured. The severed heads, headless torsos, and hanging men take turns providing the arias and chorales. The ghosts of charred victims dance and sing in anonymity. The character, Orpho, as in Orpheus, is represented by a faceless funerary statue providing monologs (e.g. press briefings) from behind a scrim. The living, if you can call them that, such as Condoleezza Rice or Cheney, appear or perform only from off stage via large closed circuit video projection screens (see the Messenger or the Return of Nature). The Sirens (Program) are stationed at the doors lending the festivities a decadent Rococo airs. Empty Palace and Portrait of the Afterlife are within this context pretty self explanatory.