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UAL Research Online

Requiem; My Brother, My Sisters

Farley, Peter and Sonnabend, Yolanda (2005) Requiem; My Brother, My Sisters. [Art/Design Item]

Type of Research: Art/Design Item
Creators: Farley, Peter and Sonnabend, Yolanda

This practice-based project investigates the ways in which archival research, including photographs and fragments of scenographic process, combined with personal experience and memory, can be used to re-create scenic design and costume on a large scale.

Sir Kenneth Macmillan's ballet ‘Requiem’ was first staged in Germany in 1976 and by the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden in 1977. Farley was part of the original design team, and as Associate Designer in 2005 was asked to research and re-stage the ballet in collaboration with Yolanda Sonnabend. This research forms part of a series of ‘re-creations' of one-act Macmillan ballets from the 1970s and early 1980s undertaken by Farley. It includes ‘Rituals’ in 2000, ‘Requiem’ and ‘My Brother, My Sisters’ in 2005 and 2006 respectively and continues with ‘A Different Drummer’ in 2008.

The process of retrieval raises questions for the researcher/practictioner in terms of the extent to which the original can be faithfully re-created using different processes and materials. Farley's concern was not to simply ‘reproduce' the designs as conceived in the 1970s, but to re-visualise and refresh them for a contempoary audience. In the case of 'Requiem’ the scenographic process involved constructing a new scale model from fragments of the original and researching materials, for example modern polycarbonates, that could be used to improve on and develop the original concept.

In relation to costume, in the absence of many of the original designs Farley and Sonnabend used archival research to help them recollect their initial scenographic intentions. These were then re-created and where necessary re-invented on the bodies of over 40 dancers using fabric and mark making as a form of three-dimensional drawing. This enabled the re-introduction of some of the ideas which were lost from the original Stuttgart production and re-invigorated the designs for a twenty-first century audience.

Additional Information (Publicly available):

Peter Farley's current research/practice has three strands:

Firstly, over the last eight years he has been collaborating with Yolanda Sonnabend in researching, recreating and restaging the half-forgotten designs for ballets first created by the late Sir Kenneth Macmillan in the 1970s and 1980s for the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden. The research sources are old black and white archival photographs, fragments of original scale models, original drawings and also personal memory. The process had also generated an investigation into new and exciting construction materials and fabrics that were not available when the works were first produced.

Secondly, he has been engaged in research concerning how Renaissance texts in unconventional and site-specifc locations might offer up alternative readings for contemporary audiences and, from a scenographic perspective, how issues of scale and proxemics affect the reception of texts from this period. His most recent work, Ten Thousand Several Doors, based on Webster's The Duchess of Malfi, was created for the Brighton International Festival in May 2006 and continues this ongoing research in collaboration with director, Jane Collins, which includes Webster's Women in the1990's and Shakespeare's Dream-on-Sea in 2003.

Lastly, In 2006, he was awarded an Arts and Humanities Research Council Promising Researcher Fellowship to explore ways in which current and historic scenographic process can be documented, archived and disseminated for the use of theatre specialists and the public at large. This work will become part of a scenographic archive at Wimbledon College of Art building upon the College's acquisition of the Jocelyn Herbert and Richard Negri archives.

Your affiliations with UAL: Other Affiliations > RAE 2008
Colleges > Wimbledon College of Arts
Date: 28 November 2005
Related Websites: http://www.wimbledon.arts.ac.uk/35172.htm
Related Websites:
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2009 19:39
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2014 12:25
Item ID: 1907
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1907

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