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07

Sep

It’s almost impossible to hear anything about Camille Claudel without a mention of Auguste Rodin in the same breath. I’d never heard her name until reading Annie’s work. In all honesty, I’d never heard of most of the women who are characters in The Artists’ Women— all of whom experienced all-too-close encounters with some of the world’s most renowned art and artists. Why not? We’ve all seen their faces and bodies mounted on the walls of museums, but who were they?
Camille Claudel was a bright and feisty girl who, in contrast to the Victorian values of those around her, insisted upon harboring her right to an opinion and a voice. She never considered a career other than one as a sculptor, which, as a woman in 1880s France, was a brave and radical choice. Most importantly, she was a brilliant sculptor, both before and after she began to study with Auguste Rodin, and both before and after they had a tumultuous affair. 
Still I find myself introducing my character to those who have never heard of her as “Rodin’s mistress”, because his name is the recognizable one. Do we care more about the things that happened in the dark between this girl and her famous lover than we do about her genius and her work? 
It is unknown how exactly Camille’s life took such a dark turn. It is unknown exactly why she was taken away to an asylum, and it is certainly unknown why she was unjustly kept in an institution until her death almost thirty years after her committal. We’ll likely never know. Is it some sort of threatening anomaly to be a woman and an artist and a lover all at once? Is it possible to have your own creative muse when you are acting as one for someone else?
 Camille’s story is one that deserves to be told, and I’m thrilled to be a part of the telling.

It’s almost impossible to hear anything about Camille Claudel without a mention of Auguste Rodin in the same breath. I’d never heard her name until reading Annie’s work. In all honesty, I’d never heard of most of the women who are characters in The Artists’ Women— all of whom experienced all-too-close encounters with some of the world’s most renowned art and artists. Why not? We’ve all seen their faces and bodies mounted on the walls of museums, but who were they?

Camille Claudel was a bright and feisty girl who, in contrast to the Victorian values of those around her, insisted upon harboring her right to an opinion and a voice. She never considered a career other than one as a sculptor, which, as a woman in 1880s France, was a brave and radical choice. Most importantly, she was a brilliant sculptor, both before and after she began to study with Auguste Rodin, and both before and after they had a tumultuous affair.

Still I find myself introducing my character to those who have never heard of her as “Rodin’s mistress”, because his name is the recognizable one. Do we care more about the things that happened in the dark between this girl and her famous lover than we do about her genius and her work?


It is unknown how exactly Camille’s life took such a dark turn. It is unknown exactly why she was taken away to an asylum, and it is certainly unknown why she was unjustly kept in an institution until her death almost thirty years after her committal. We’ll likely never know. Is it some sort of threatening anomaly to be a woman and an artist and a lover all at once? Is it possible to have your own creative muse when you are acting as one for someone else?

Camille’s story is one that deserves to be told, and I’m thrilled to be a part of the telling.

04

Sep

Marcel Duchamp was a man defined by his contradictory nature.  He rubbed elbows with the upper-class New York art scene, yet never had more than $200 or $300 to his name.  He was gifted with an almost-preternatural ease at creating erotic art (and a reputation for womanizing), yet he remained a bachelor and lived in a nearly empty apartment in Manhattan for the majority of his life.  And he consistently challenged the public - patrons and dilletantes alike - with his “readymades”; everyday found-objects signed and proclaimed as Art.  
But perhaps his most curious project was the mid-career adoption of an alter ego.  As crude as he was polite, as free as he was constrained, the “fresh widow” Rrose Selavy (“Eros, c’est la vie!” or “Arroser la vie!”) emerged first in signature on a Duchamp work in 1920 and then through photographs (of Duchamp in drag) taken by friend and collaborator Man Ray.  Rrose remained throughout the rest of his career, a friendly Mr. Hyde to Duchamp’s Dr. Jekyl, and further works were nearly always signed by “Marcel Duchamp & Rrose Selavy”.Of course, the emergence of Rrose begs many questions about the artist’s life - was he a homosexual expressing himself through drag?  Was it a joke?  Female worship?  Living within female objectification?  A penchant for silks and feathers?  With no clear explanation from the man himself, we are forced to decide for ourselves and Annie Such, the playwright behind YeuxVeuxBelle’s The Artists’ Women, invites us to experience her interpretation at The Arts Alliance, September 14th-16th.As the actor lucky enough to dive headfirst into Marcel (and the glamorous, nasty Rrose) I’m thrilled to share our work with Philly Fringe audiences.  The director - Jeffrey Hyman - and I are still discovering what it is to be Marcel versus Rrose, how the lady herself emerges from a male cocoon, and how this gender-bending genius fits into Annie’s world of women and art in timeless Paris - yet, I can say, having tried on Rrose’s magnificent fur coat and floppy fedora (think Ilsa from Casablanca), the result will be fabulous.

Marcel Duchamp was a man defined by his contradictory nature.  He rubbed elbows with the upper-class New York art scene, yet never had more than $200 or $300 to his name.  He was gifted with an almost-preternatural ease at creating erotic art (and a reputation for womanizing), yet he remained a bachelor and lived in a nearly empty apartment in Manhattan for the majority of his life.  And he consistently challenged the public - patrons and dilletantes alike - with his “readymades”; everyday found-objects signed and proclaimed as Art.  


But perhaps his most curious project was the mid-career adoption of an alter ego.  As crude as he was polite, as free as he was constrained, the “fresh widow” Rrose Selavy (“Eros, c’est la vie!” or “Arroser la vie!”) emerged first in signature on a Duchamp work in 1920 and then through photographs (of Duchamp in drag) taken by friend and collaborator Man Ray.  Rrose remained throughout the rest of his career, a friendly Mr. Hyde to Duchamp’s Dr. Jekyl, and further works were nearly always signed by “Marcel Duchamp & Rrose Selavy”.

Of course, the emergence of Rrose begs many questions about the artist’s life - was he a homosexual expressing himself through drag?  Was it a joke?  Female worship?  Living within female objectification?  A penchant for silks and feathers?  With no clear explanation from the man himself, we are forced to decide for ourselves and Annie Such, the playwright behind YeuxVeuxBelle’s The Artists’ Women, invites us to experience her interpretation at The Arts Alliance, September 14th-16th.

As the actor lucky enough to dive headfirst into Marcel (and the glamorous, nasty Rrose) I’m thrilled to share our work with Philly Fringe audiences.  The director - Jeffrey Hyman - and I are still discovering what it is to be Marcel versus Rrose, how the lady herself emerges from a male cocoon, and how this gender-bending genius fits into Annie’s world of women and art in timeless Paris - yet, I can say, having tried on Rrose’s magnificent fur coat and floppy fedora (think Ilsa from Casablanca), the result will be fabulous.

20

Aug

Hello all! This is your set designer, Radha Vakharia here. I am so thankful to have the opportunity to work with this wonderful group of people! My design process is going very nicely. At the present, I’m in the process of making sculptures for Camille Claudel and Rodin’s studio. My set design allows the characters to glide through the space fluidly as their stories mesh together and come apart again. My goal is to represent a timeless city where creativity thrives. 

12

Aug

Hello from your costume designer! My name is Shelby Kay and I am delighted to be working with such talented humans on this spectacular production. My process for The Artists’ Women is going extremely well and I have found an amazing amount of inspiration  within the piece. I imagine each woman as a particular bruise caused from inner turmoil and emotion hurt. My color palate follows this idea and emits a radiance of warmth. Opposing this idea stands L’egerie in her free-flowing nature and cool composition. Included in this post is a sketch of what I hope to accomplish with her look. I look forward to sharing more with you all! Stay tuned for more to come…

Shelby

Hello from your costume designer! My name is Shelby Kay and I am delighted to be working with such talented humans on this spectacular production. My process for The Artists’ Women is going extremely well and I have found an amazing amount of inspiration  within the piece. I imagine each woman as a particular bruise caused from inner turmoil and emotion hurt. My color palate follows this idea and emits a radiance of warmth. Opposing this idea stands L’egerie in her free-flowing nature and cool composition. Included in this post is a sketch of what I hope to accomplish with her look. I look forward to sharing more with you all! Stay tuned for more to come…

Shelby

09

Aug

I would prefer to have a more appealing job. If I could still change careers, I would prefer it. This unfortunate art is made for long beards and ugly faces rather than for a relatively well-endowed woman.
Camille Claudel
I invent nothing, I rediscover.
Auguste Rodin
Meet Lucrezia Buti.

Meet Lucrezia Buti.

08

Aug

28

Jul

Improvisation and the Arts

brindschool:

Tip of the hat to Jarrod Markman for spotting this great essay in the HuffPo about how arts-school skills are invaluable in all walks of life!

24

Jul

Living Room Reading

by Georgie Keveson, Assistant Producer for The Artists’ Women

Among a jumble of tables and chairs lay the fresh draft of our scripts as we walked in to the remarkably frigid room of our “living room” script reading. The cast, designers, director, producers and a couple of special guests settled in to the environment and pulled back the first few pages of the newest version of THE ARTISTS’ WOMEN, scanning over their lines, inquiring proper pronunciation and pressing Jeff with some last minute questions about their characters. After the questions were asked and packages of cookies along with bags of popcorn where opened and passed around we began.

What ensued was an evening of beautiful words, of romance and vulgarity and, without exaggeration, tears and side splitting laughter (as often inspired by a mispronounced word as the script). For most of us it was our first experience hearing Annie’s work aloud and while we were listening to the dialogue, soliloquies and monologues that comprised the script we heard much more. In a room in Philadelphia around the assortment of tables and chairs we were in Paris, Italy and beyond. We heard color, shape and form through the musings of the world’s most renowned artists and the incredible and terrible women that filled their lives.

When the the final stage direction was uttered, back in our little cold room, we readjusted to our surroundings though they had been as distant to use as the places we imagined to inhabit. We looked around our space with a sense of unity and purpose, each excited to begin the journey that Annie invites us to take. Next week rehearsal will begin and, under Jeff’s thoughtful direction, the performers will be given the opportunity to travel again to the antique Parisian studios, see the beauty and madness of the masters of the trade and meet and know the artist’s women.

http://www.artistswomen.com