Your browser is no longer supported. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

Search for anything...

Archive Item:

The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk – Set Design

Item Details

Read more on The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk – Set Design from the Kneehigh Cookbook archive.

My inspiration for the design of the set for Flying Lovers formed around ideas of deconstruction, chaos and imbalance, to attempt to reflect the times in which Bella and Marc Chagall lived, full of change and turmoil.

I thought about how Cubism deconstructed the way in which we look at the world and how Chagall tried to embed that in his work in his own inimitable style. I thought about the Russian Constructivists and a work like Tatlin’s Tower, and then of the vast birch forests throughout Russia and Belarus.

I sought to imbue the structure with those references. I shaped and opened up the cube frame in model form in my hands, in order to find its resting place. There isn’t one vertical or horizontal line, everything is out of kilter and distorted – and yet it fits together and finds its own balance. It creates a confined and intense stage area, around which the performers can find different pathways and journeys. It has been likened to a raft adrift which also feels apt.

The Upstage Flat also follows similar lines of enquiry in its design, the central shape more or less fitting into the upstage edge of the main structure, and leading the way in which the whole shape is then folded and arrives at its final form. It offers the lighting designer a vast canvas to play with Chagalls unparalleled use of colour, as well as offering the possibility of shadow work and the sense of a larger space. I worked out this form by folding up a piece of paper. I love to work things out in paper in 3D, to develop shapes that find themselves out through my manipulations.

Emma wanted the props to look as if they had jumped straight out of a Chagall canvas. And I followed that same inspiration for the costume, Bella’s dresses seaming giving particular quality to their style and appearance.

I am a sculptor at heart and by training, so I am always hungry to create challenging and demanding forms.

Sophia Clist 29 March 2018

Also from this show