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UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 5 | Mar. 7, 2002

Pair tackle Creation for dramatic thesis

Learning takes stage for Fine Arts students

by Michelle Cook staff writer

If the prospect of defending your thesis in front of a panel of professors makes you nervous, just ask Angelina Kekich and Stephen Drover about presenting theirs to a paying audience of theatregoers -- 10 nights in a row.

The double thesis project for the two Master of Fine Arts students is a production of The Creation, opening at the Chan Centre's Telus Studio on March 13.

Theatre Dept. faculty paired up Drover, the play's director, and Kekich, its costume designer, last September to work on staging the play, an adaptation of the medieval mystery cycles which dramatized Bible stories about man's creation, fall and redemption. Drover chose the play in order to explore how theatre can help us understand ourselves and our relationship to God.

Although the script, taken from a 1996 production staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company, is a newer version of the medieval plays, it satisfied Drover's interest in archaic texts.

"I'm interested in theatre's roots as a form of ritual, story telling and myth telling. It was a rich period of theatre," Drover says.

In addition to learning "a million" small things about directing a cast of 13 actors and a production crew of 45, Drover says his most valuable lesson has been discovering how to tell an original story on stage.

"A story like this comes with hundreds of years of interpretation and opinion," Drover explains. "These are Bible stories that we hear all our lives, and the actors and I bring that baggage to the play. I had to drop that and find the play's human qualities."

Kekich's collaboration with Drover began with a series of meetings to discuss his vision for the presentation, including the lighting, music, characters and what they would wear.

"As a costume designer you do what the director wants. You have to be able to read his mind," Kekich explains.

An experienced fashion designer with film work under her belt, Kekich relished the challenge of creating 40 original costumes with a timeless look that would not be adapted from already existing stage costumes.

For her research, Kekich looked at Byzantine, early Gothic, Cambodian and Tibetan clothing styles and scoured fashion magazines for modern influences.

In addition to conceptualizing the look for The Creation with hand-drawn and computerized sketches, Kekich's thesis work has included managing a costume design budget, and working with fabric dyers, cutters and sewers in the Frederic Wood Theatre's costume shop.

"People think costume design is a hokey pokey thing," Kekich says. "They don't realize the work and research that it takes. It's a long process."


Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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