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.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Colors for 'Closer', the play now in Basel

If you haven't seen the play in Basel yet called 'Closer' you will, you should, you must. Two and a half weeks before the show opened, they asked me, "Hey, Colleen! Could you do the costumes?" And I thought, "You know what? I'm just about crazy enough to say yes". So I said, "Yes!" And in two weeks, the actors, the directors and their significant others as well as myself had pilfered all the closets we could in Basel without losing friends to come up with a whopping 48 costume changes for 12 scenes.

In this picture with Anna and Dan played by Stephanie Nemeth-Parker and Josh Malik I am particularly proud of the flowers on the dress being mirrored by the bunch of roses in Dan's hands. The other colors are sober and reflect the mood at the end of the play. And the bald head in the way was not part of the overall concept for the play's colors. Just go see it. I hope you notice the subtle use of colors, as well as the scar I made and I know you will thoroughly enjoy the acting and the script as 'Closer' is being hailed as one of the best plays of the nineties.
Enjoy, yours, for now,
Mrs Crocodile
PS 'Closer' was written by Patrick Marber. This production has been put on by Upstart Entertainment, Basel, directed by Andrew Fernades and Esmeralda Hernandez and also stars Mimi Myrick and Dany Demuth. Check out the upstart entertainment website for tickets: www.upstart-entertainment.ch

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Chez-moi

"Your perfect home would be a tree house, high on a hill somewhere with a view to the sea." Well yes, for once I had to agree with that. Even if a tree house sounds kind of cramped, the appeal of dropping all of my stuff, or rather giving it to a thrift store whose volunteers are lovingly selling old wares to make money for their favorite charities, like my 90 year-old grandmother still does. Yes, having no possessions and moving into a tree house sounds appealing. I cannot say how the sewage might work in tree houses or how one heats up coffee in the mornings, but in my fantasy this doesn't matter. All that matters is breathing in the smell of the green and knowing the ocean is not far away.
I made this collage in the process of moving if you can believe that. Actually it is made out of tons of old papers I didn't have the heart to bless the thrift shop with. The golden house is cut out from a poster, the Kiss by Gustav Klimt, which should tell you right there about my little play house fantasy, the trees and flowers around the house are cut out from glossy picture books I have collected. If you look in through the front door you see fireworks. Yes! Fireworks! In through the windows, you see the sky.
So with this latest post, I give you Chez-moi! An approximation of the tree house fantasy and how if you really think about it you need a lot less than you think. I'll let you know if I find the tree house and when I do, maybe you could tell me how to fit all my stuff for collages in it.
Yours, enamored by the sensation that the trees are about to burst open in celebration of Spring and nature's fireworks,
Mrs Crocodile

Monday, March 22, 2010

'Weg' or 'a Way'


Maybe I shot myself in the feng shui foot when I hung this collage in the entry of my new apartment. Every time I come in and see it I'm ready to go out again. It was the first time I had made something that showed movement:
'Weg' in German means away. It also means a 'way', 'road', 'route'. It's also a handy-dandy prefix that is used when you want to say something is away. As in run away: wegrennen. Or road sign: Wegweiser. Fall away: wegfallen.

I made this collage in April 2009 after returning from a wonderful Spring weekend in Paris. If you look closely, I have literally incorporated my whole weekend there, and the little bits of paper that fell into my hands along the 'way' as if by coincidence. The body is made from the catalogue of collages of the Brazilian artist Beatriz Milhazes who has obviously inspired me to make collages and who also at that time had displayed her work at the Fondation Cartier (the building is worth it, too, even if they've taken her stuff down, boo hoo). Then there's the bling from a café's chocolate, the chopstick legs are from the Japanese restaurant Bernard and I had the most romantic dinner in. So nice to be able to dress up and wear heels for a change. The shoes are cut outs from magazines but don't match, that's on purpose: who can decide which shoes to wear? The handbag gives it the Spring daffodil feeling. The eyes Max cut out for me and glued them on, the yellow mouth is from my laughter yoga advertising material. The black and red face is from another chocolate that we ate at a café. The hat was also cut out by Max, and Ella glued it on. The wallpaper rolls as arms, and the lace doily we use for birthday cakes wrapped around her neck and bottom, are the symbols for coming home. And the artichoke as a crown is just because it's my favorite vegetable and makes me feel good. If you look closely you see her heart is a used Paris Metro ticket, pumping the blood through her veins.

This collage is about going away, but it's also about making my way. My way in the world. I encourage everyone not to sit still but be in motion and move on with life as I have. Put something in the entry that makes you want to be home, but also says as soon as you get in the door: "Get off that sorry ass! Grab the handbag! Skip out into the world!"
Happy Spring folks,
Yours,
Mrs Crocodile

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A blog is like writing an e-mail to yourself...

Hello! And welcome to the world of Mrs Crocodile! House wife that got sickened from bringing home the bacon and frying it up in a pan is now biting back and has turned to the world of blogging. Yes, get worried, there are not many crocodiles who can cook and there are even fewer reasons for crocodiles to write. Oh great just a few sentences and this sucks I can hear you saying, and who the hell is this Mrs Crocodile anyway? And you're about to lose it before you click off to another blog and I can understand you...it's not that, stay awhile, make yourself at home here. I am, after all, a whiz at entertaining, in fact it gets better when you have realized it's pretty much never about the food, but about the conversation. I mistakenly thought that for much of my life and there are foodies out there who will completely disagree with me. No. I disagree. A good dinner party or brunch is about conversation. And a good blog is entertaining. Therefore a blog is a lot like a dinner party. This blog is about re-invention. About my process of re-inventing myself and my surroundings if you will, every few months. The reasons? 1) I can't sit still for very long 2) I can't keep the couch in one place in the living room for very long, which may be why I can't sit still for very long 3) I can't actually keep a job for longer than two years, which may have something to do with the fact that I can't sit still and the couch is constantly moving back and forth. So this blog is about how I'm going to re-invent myself to become who I always wanted to be. Who will I become? Probably the person I always was in the first place or if I change so drastically, I'll probably be longing for the person I was, but not quite. Less about invention, I know the path will lead to the contentedness level of the person I have invented that I will continue to call me. Are you still following? And who else out there is in the process of re-inventing himself or herself. I'd love to hear from you. Here is who I have been: cleaner, waitress, seamstress, costume assistant, English teacher, play-group leader, translator, proof-reader, writer, internet assessor, etc. Here is who I would like to become: me. The difficulty is in finding which one of those things I can be me with and still be me, oh and by the way, find a way to buy bacon once in a while. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know. Otherwise this blogging thing is going to become a lot like praying to God in that I never know if he or she is actually listening, I am just writing the e-mail to myself, hoping that there's someone out there who says, hey, that's how it is for me. So before I get on my knees and press my hands together, bowing my head, give me a sign, people, give me a sign, that there is a way to be me and still bring home the bacon or it could even be a kind of imitation bacon, that's okay, too.