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Venus Papers Post

05/14/2011

Hello, and welcome to our Venus Papers blog. Alexis, lovely producer of The Venus Papers has set it up so I and other people members of the cast, can update anyone who might be interested on our progress.

The Venus Papers is a one woman poetry show, written and performed by me (Lydia) and edited and directed by Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze. It features music composed and performed by Corey Mwamba, supported by Dave Dhonau on cello. Film visuals have been designed by Keith Allott and original artwork painted by Scott Bridgwood. We’re doing the premier performance of the show at Derby Live, Assembly Rooms, June 3rd, 8pm.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been making a few small adjustments to the final script and also, thinking a lot about clothes..

Late last year, we did an extract at The Y Theatre, Leicester. The segment featured the full performance’s main story arc and most of the necessary costumes. However, the process of reviewing and refining the work – adding two new subplots and doing a lot of reflecting on what the show is trying to say – has led to shifts in the performance and along with these, shifts in it’s visual language.

The show is constructed so that as Venus moves from the sea into civilisation she acquires new clothing to symbolise her integration. In this symbolism there is an intended suggestion that in the acquisition of  clothing, there is an acquisition of an almost new body. A body deemed stable enough by Venus, but also one that is loaded and arguably not entirely positive.

In the extract of the piece these clothes had mostly been borrowed from my own wardrobe. This worked I hope, to a certain extent, because the Venus character was not intended as a straight forward fictional cyphor, but also as a vehicle for communicating some of my own experiences. I used my own clothing because the character in the performance was not just Venus, but to a certain extent, also me.

However, the risk of using such ‘normal’ clothing, is that the symbolism of Venus reconstruction isn’t dramatic enough to be as clear as it could be. Two bits of audience feedback also suggested that this might be something we could develop. So, back to thinking about clothes and what Venus might instead wear.

Thinking about the clothing as body, has made me think of those clothes that are the most substantial, robust, weighty and extravagant. Scouring everything from vintage dens and market stalls to my mother’s wardrobe, I finally got hold of a good corset today.

The idea of using a corset, comes from the notion of shapeshifting. By definition, a corset is transformative – capable of permanently altering a person’s dimensions and at the very least, temporarily enforcing a different posture. It was delivered yesterday, courtesy of the internet – but not until I’d visited nearly every goth shop in Leicester and perhaps more desperately, one sex store.

This last looked like a goth shop but on closer inspection seem to carry quite an impressive selection of latex nurses outfits. I only saw these (next to the handcuffs and the crotchless knickers) after explaining to the nice lady how I needed a corset I could take off quickly for a performance I was going to be doing…considering  the context, perhaps an unfortunate choice of words!

Pondering clothes – and of course the rest of the show – continues.

Over the weekend I’m planning on doing a bit more line learning, possibly combined with a bit more sewing of sequins. I’m not sure whether items I’ve made myself will be absolutely right for the show, but at least in constructing them myself, I’m building my connection to Venus as a character – and spending time thinking about what such construction means.

For the potential new sequined skirt, see below…

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One Comment leave one →
  1. lynne langton permalink
    05/14/2011 11:27 am

    hi read the press release and supported the y theater when the venus papers abridged was on december 2011 felt them that i liked the lighting and the performance as a whole it toured to brick lane and will next be in derby i liked the photographs released of the colours and the soft lighting and i wrote as placed the photos on my site they were stunning and graceful . i hope to see the next venus papers . the shell on stage captured my imagination and so do the posters which are portraits of lydia and have them in my hallway and think when i look at them i like that its theatrical

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