Friday, June 03, 2011

artwork spotlight | re:union

The second in our series of features on Emily Cooper's artwork for our 2011-2012 season!  Here we have the wonderful image for Horseshoes & Hand Grenades' Sean Devine's playwrighting debut, RE:UNION.

RE:UNION is, in my humble opinion, one of those once-in-a-lifetime plays that is at the right time and the right place with the right story.  Another one based on real-life events, this one revolves around Norman Morrison, a Quaker who burned himself in front of the Pentagon in protest of the Vietnam War and the baby girl he left behind to grapple with his choices 36 years later.

So, what does this image have to tell us?

The dove, of course, represents peace - it is the statement Norman Morrison was trying to make with his protest.  He has a brightly coloured circle behind his head that may or may not be a halo, which may depend on how you interpret his actions.

The red and yellow spikes are a not-too-literally version of fire.

5:20.  In this play time is crucial, and several events co-occur at exactly 5:20, years apart.

This particular play had a few versions of the artwork, here are a couple of drafts that didn't quite make the cut.

This was one of the very first drafts.  We loved it (we aren't fools, after all) but were hoping for something with a little more "punch".

Well, we asked for punch, and we got it!  Brighter colours, the dove becomes a cougar, and the fire is more of an explosion.  Once again avoiding being fools as much as possible, we loved this one too, but wound up deciding we needed to scale it back a bit.  The image is amazing, but maybe a bit too "explode-y" for this story.  Maybe we could bring it back a bit towards the last one?

And back it went.  But now, being the eternally finicky clients that we are, we missed the bright colour and eye-grabby punch of the previous draft.  We aimed for the best of both worlds and what was born is the final image.  Perfection!

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