Fairy Tales and Maggie Thatcher

Conceptual Design, RWCMD

Alackaday! It’s been far too long – sorry folks, got carried away with Christmas. Anyway, moving swiftly onwards…

My second conceptual costume design project of the course was Sleeping Beauty by Rufus Norris. This version is pretty nuts, featuring a flatulent fairy and a child-eating ogress among others. I was thrilled about designing it though, as I have a thing for the 18th century (as you may have noticed) and this would be the PERFECT opportunity to unleash a bit of period fantasy. Edmund Dulac! Kay Nielsen! PANNIERS!! I immediately pulled together some mood/research boards…

I excitedly showed them to my tutor, and she was… not impressed. In fact, she was pretty insistent that I do something contemporary, especially since I had gone period with King Lear. As it turns out, indulgent period fantasy is a big no-no at Royal Welsh College. Following the rather tepid reception of my Shakespeare design, I realised I didn’t have a choice in this. Contemporary it was.

My new concept started with Fairy Goody, the filthy, farting fairy that casts the infamous spell upon being spurned by Queen Beauty at the naming day celebration. My Fairy Goody became White Dee from Benefits Street. The rest soon fell into place: Margaret Thatcher became my ogress, Boris Johnson my ogre, and a Made In Chelsea/Bullingdon Club/posh knob became the prince (also the ogress’s son).

I was able to salvage some of my original 18th century inspiration for the palace characters: King Beauty – well-meaning but useless; Queen Beauty – a snob obsessed with cleanliness; and Princess Beauty – an overprotected teen not allowed to grow up. I threw in a 50s twist because I found a bright green and pink vinyl covered sofa from the era that I just couldn’t ignore, and it was a natural progression from the Kim Woodburn inspiration image for the Queen.

I also collected images for the forest creatures, ogre, and Prince of Questions (who is really just a narrative device. He turns up being chased by the ogre at the start of the play, and because Fairy Goody needs a prince to break the spell, she tells him the whole story).

Ok you get the idea. I don’t have individual scans of my drawings, but here are some photos of the resulting designs:

I’m now home for the holidays, working at Eureka! and eating lots of chocolate. It’s nice to be back in my comfort zone – my mark on King Lear (48%) really knocked me for six. But something clicked with Sleeping Beauty. I’m going to revisit Lear during the break, and hopefully design something more compelling to show my tutors in the new year.

Onwards and upwards!

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