25 September 2007

Juana: Concept and Design
pt. 2 of 3
"You had better pray that I never again sit where I belong."
- Juana, Juana II:4 by Paul Casey

Juana is a woman of the future surrounded by the patriarchal trappings of the past at the dawn of the Renaissance in Spain.

We will take a somewhat expressionistic angle on this, presenting the world as Juana would see it: a mad house, full of monsters.

The fuel for this living nightmare will be the prominent forms of art from the period, specifically religious paintings, stained-glass, and liturgical drama. This is the art of the structure, her parents, the establishment.

The chiaroscuro is primitive and somewhat harsh. The perspective simple. The muted palate of religious paintings is augmented by the saturated primaries of stained glass.

Liturgical drama (pageants, festivals, etc.) continued to grow and develop in Spain throughout the Renaissance. We will draw upon this tradition as well. (See how nicely this fits with the pageant puppets?)

The story is grand. The locations are grand. Juana is an epic play. Yet it shall be important to exercise great economy in the design of the play -- the set, costumes, lights, sound and puppets. At the heart of this massive story that stretches over thirty years, from the Iberian peninsula to the Austrian Empire, is the very simple story of a woman who was betrayed by her husband, son, and father. The heart of this play lives in The Room Without Light, an impenetrable darkness that ultimately could not overshadow Juana herself.

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