Welcome to the swamp! Here, lurking in the muck, where creativity spawns, you'll find Mrs Crocodile, aka Colleen Dunkel, a costumer and teacher based in Basel, Switzerland.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Skeletons in the Closet: Ethical Fashion Choices

Those polyester bell-bottoms your dad wore in the sixties?  Still in a land-fill somewhere...

It's time to come out of hiding.  Have a look in the dresser, in the closet or the coat-rack.  I found some clothing labels that didn't exactly fill me with joy, but with a sense of dread.  That moment when you realize many of your clothes might have been made by slaves. Yuck.  The following two posts bring home the need for more re-using, buying local, investment in higher quality clothing and reducing spontaneous purchases. The posts are very well-written and eye-opening.  Kudos to Shannon Whitehead!

6 Things You Should Know About Your Clothes
4 Things to Remember Every Time You Shop for Clothes

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Shadow Box

Have we actually left the 1970's?  What a world!  Suddenly men didn't have to ask to take off their jackets, women could finally look like men again and you can fill in the details of your story here: ___________________________________________________________.
Just because I found myself with five minutes on my hands, I did this show in between "Hobbys", "Sugar Baby", "Herta Hunderthosen" and "That Other Theater".  You can check out the trailer we did back in January for a little taste.  It opens this Thursday and plays for two weeks!  Click here for Semi-Circle's website.

P.S. Don't tell anyone: We English speakers in Basel are fundamentally spoiled.

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Neue Hobbys Braucht das Land!

Bern is a quaint seaside resort in the middle of a land-locked country.  Here's what I have in my bag I'm taking to Bern: beach chairs, volley ball net, sand, bonfire, tent, sleeping bag, sand, towels, dirt, water bottles, beer cans, sun hat, sarong, sand, badminton rackets, birdies, wind-breaker, cut offs, roller blades, soccer ball and sand, tennis shoes, camera, computer, frisbee, script, notes, cob-webs, picnic blanket, inflatable boat, oars, apron, armbands and sand.  Sounds like a day off, n'est-ce pas?  You have no excuse not to visit!  Neue Hobbys Braucht das Land! is an original production written (in German), directed by and starring Michael Steiner, Andy Tobler and Katrine Veith.  The three grapple with starting a free-time association and their different hobbies with enjoyable and adverse déroulement.  FYI: I'm doing the props and costumes so I think it's appropriate here to say thank you to all my friends and neighbors who generously helped contribute with the offer of the things they were going to give to the Salvation Army anyway.  Thank you!

In the Keller Theater of the Schlachthaus in Bern, it premieres this Wednesday and only plays four nights: 11-14 April.
More info at the Schlachthaus website here:
Neue Hobbies Braucht das Land!
Wish you were here,
Mrs Crocodile

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

One of the nicest things you could say to some artistic types is this: "I really like how you think outside the box."  Be careful it might come out sounding like a pick up line.  I'm willing to bet my hard earned artistic cash, that most of our thinking occurs physically outside of boxes, on long walks, in the swimming pool, going up or down mountains, attached by the feet to long flat sticks called skis, gazing out of train windows, even inside of our shoebox abodes.  Here are some of the initial ideas for some Shadow Box moods and costumes, they didn't always fit in the little boxes.  Insert emoticon here ______.

The Shadow Box Collage Rendering: Brian, Beverly and Mark
The Shadow Box Collage Rendering: Joe, Steve and Maggie
The Shadow Box Collage Rendering: Agnes and Felicity

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Childbirth is painful, other births less...

Chicken wire is murder to sit in for long periods of time.
If somebody asks me: "Do you have a hobby?"  I don't like my answer because "Cutting stuff up into little pieces" comes out sounding mental.  This is why I'd like to express a very big THANK YOU to everyone who came to the Schleiferei last night to eat together and midwife the birth of my characters in the story of Frau Herta Hunderthosen.  Actress and Director Nicolaia Marston read the voices of the characters, Producer Andrew Fernandes cooked the best grub this side of the Ganges and the Salon was organized by the delightful Costume Designer Eva Butzkies.

Everyone said incredibly nice things about my passion for cutting stuff up and thoroughly encouraged me to continue.  It's times like these when having the creative bug, a pair of scissors and a whole heap of poor hungry creative friends is wildly worth it.  And get this: nobody thought I was mental!

Not many people actually ask me if I have a hobby.  I encourage you to ask this question more often.  Repeat after me:

"Hi!  I'm (fill in the blank).  Nice to meet you!  What are your passions?"  Now go ask everyone at the next bus-stop.

Frau Herta Hunderthosen is born.  She is passionate about dresses.  Goodness knows I've got to DO something with her.

Stay tuned...
Mrs Crocodile

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Gummi Bears, Collectors and the Joys of 2012

Is there anything less sexy than gummi bears?  And do not try to get me pumped on the glycerine-free or bio-varity either.  Gummi bears do not work for me.  I hide them from the kids.  So please stop putting them in my mailbox.  There are lots of other things that fill me with joy when I find them in my mailbox: postcards from far away places, money, theater tickets, whisky truffes from Schiesser, Krischmagroonli from Gilgen and most things homemade.  Sadly, by forces which will remain nameless,  I now have started a clandestine collection of gummi stuff, which is getting harder and harder to hide from my children: gummi cola bottles, gummi skeletons, gummi race cars, gummi-organic-bears, and something called "sour rings" also originating from the gummi family.  Rather than start a museum, I would like to donate my collection to the next student production I work on.
If you want to do something that would fill me with joy, go see "Das Kind von Noah"  by Eric Emmanuel-Schmitt now playing in German in Theater Stok, Zürich.  It's a beautiful story about, guess what? A collector.  It is a story of empathy and courage, put on by Theater 58, directed by Elmar Schubert, starring Bodo Krumweide, Pascal Jordan and Stefan Kollmuss, Costumes by me; they travel all over Switzerland.  So instead of putting gummi-things in my mailbox, here are the dates:
Mi. 25.01.12 20.00 Zürich, Theater Stok
Do. 26.01.12 20.00 Zürich, Theater Stok
Fr. 27.01.12 20.00 Zürich, Theater Stok
Sa. 28.01.12 20.00 Zürich, Theater Stok
So. 29.01.12 19.00 Zürich, Theater Stok
31 31.01.12 20.00 Hechingen D, Stadtsaal
Fr. 10.02.12 20.00 Uster ZH, Qtopia
Sa. 11.02.12 20.00 Uster ZH, Qtopia
Do. 08.03.12 20.00 Thun, Alte Oele
Sa. 17.03.12 20.00 Klosters GR, Kulturschuppen

For more information:  Theater 58 website
And by the way, happy joyful 2012,

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

The joys of motherhood: cartoons, pj's, coffee

This is threatening to be a short list.  My number one joy of being a mom this week, turns out is not entirely embodied in the two little creatures branded to look like me who insist on carrying one or more of my names around with them, but two other kids. 
The first boy I'm in love with, whose head is shaped like a triangle and speaks with an American accent, is very creative and is always dreaming up stuff like roller-coasters. 
His brother, who I also have a crush on and whose head is very long-shaped, almost never talks, but when he does his accent is English, is the mastermind.  Strangely he reminds me of my engineer grandfather.  He can pull a tiny scrap of paper out of his back pocket, unfold it 20 times and brandish the blue-print for the roller-coaster which starts at one end of town, snakes around across town and comes back several times.   They get working on it.  They build it.  Their mom never finds out and it all gets cleared up magically. 
They are some of the most creative kids I know, actually step brothers, called Phineas and Ferb.  They are animated.  And they have a pet platypus who is a secret agent.  Haven't you always imagined your pet was a spy?  So obviously my number one reason for being a mom today?  Watching old episodes of Phineas and Ferb.
Enjoy here:

I know it's "doof", but I love it.
Mrs. Dr. "Doofenschmirtz" (rough translation: "like I'm so dumb it hurts")

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