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, August 20, 2010

Alexanderfest at the Augusta Raurica

The most exciting thing I'm doing right now is working backstage as a dresser at the Alexanderfest at the Augusta Raurica, the Roman theater in Augst.  The production is being put on by the Theater Basel and is billed as a mix of Opera and Oratorium by Handel.  If you remember to take a blanket and a thermos flask and pray for no rain, you'll stay warm enough till you can go back home with stars in your eyes and the warm feeling of having participated in something wonderful.  But in the back is where I'd really rather be.  These two extras: Bettina Kestenholz and Noelle Blind have the hard but exhilarating job of being cinched into a corset, then stepping into a ten-kilo skirt (that's a 22-pounder to you) which is made of plastic crystals and ribbing.  This costume is nothing less than brilliant and in fact the highlight is when they flick on a switch and the skirts light up.  It's something between Christmas tree and chandelier, but it's really one of those take-your-breath-away moments when fantasy becomes reality.  This time, I assure you folks, the reality is better than the fantasy.  Okay, okay, it's on the stage, so who knows if it's really reality?  So if you can't make it to see it in the flesh, visualize the designs by erte which were too heavy ever to be built, or the elaborate costume drawings Dali made, add a whole team of very skilled seamstresses and tailors, the best of what Basel has to offer and BANG!  The light comes on!  You're wearing it!  The designer of this creation is the costume designer Marie-Thérèse Jossen.
Oh! I almost forgot!  It is of course all about the music so when you go you'll bask in the best voices of Basel and be treated to wonderful special effects, but for me these extras should get all the glory, the team of skilled seamstresses behind them and of course the lighting people who have to check the chargers every night.
So to see this skirt in all of its crystal glory, and to experience the cast of about 70 in the open air, get tickets on the Theater Basel web-page: http://www.theater-basel.ch/
There you'll also be able to read all about the story and the people behind this production.  I like the web-cam, too, where you can see what's going on there right now: http://camserver.z-online.ch/showpics_01.asp?KundenID=&S=1&OwnPic=1&cam=a11r
Yours,
Mrs Crocodile


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