Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Meeting at the Peacock Room

This year I have decided to make a commitment to ask actors and dancers to pose in costume long enough for me to get a bold gestural sketch that I can post to promote the show before opening night. Up until now I have always worked clandestinely by getting into rehearsals and sketching the process. Of course no one stands still, and I am used to that, but a whole new energy slips into a sketch that is a collaboration between the artist and model. It was a revelation to me that people in this fast paced digital age are willing to take time to be sketched.

I asked Sarah Lockhard if she would pose in costume for one of the upcoming shows she will be dancing. That collaboration sparked an idea in her mind. She was going to perform a Vaudeville burlesque styled act where she would read a poem titled "Live Circus". She wanted me to sketch live on stage with her while a musician performed eerie circus themed music. As soon as I listened to the Tom Waits reading the poem, I was hooked. I'm willing to try anything once. The challenge is that the reading is only 5 minutes long. Rich imagery is packed into every stanza with weather worn characters bursting with life. I became infatuated with the relationship between Funeral Wells, a knife thrower and his woman Poodle Murphy on target. I found a knife throwing scene online that was sexy and disturbing and that scene will be the inspiration for what I sketch.

I got to the Peacock Room early and got a sketch before Sarah and the crew arrived. The director, Kevin G. Becker was there discussing how the elements of the show might fall together. The show has a video game theme. Portal which can instantly transport players, ends up transporting players between different video games. Bio Shock a creepy underwater nightmare will have a huge influence on many scenes. I've seen stills, but never played the game so the conversation at times became edgy and strange. Susan Woodberry plays the part of a little sister. She has the odd roll of inducing Adam by sucking blood from fallen victims with a huge syringe, drinking it and spitting it out. The final product Adam, gives players super human abilities but takes its toll causing genetic decomposition and fast aging.

Sarah plays the part of a seductress who distracts a game player or Spice. Susan who is working on costuming described Sarah's outfit. Her costume will be a sultry torn green dress with layers of crinoline and a hoochie skirt and turquoise blue ruffled panties. Feathers will be the only camouflage for her breasts. She will perform a hedonistic dance that entices the spice, played by Corey Volence. He rips off parts of her costume. Straps are broken and torn and crinoline is ripped off. She will lung at him like a wild animal, pushing his chair backwards and then straddling him. Panting loudly, she then will stab him in the heart with a giant syringe. Things could get messy.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at


Kelly Medford said...

I looove this sketch and the rich night colors. I have many a good memory of this place, great sketch!

knick said...