An animated film created by Hayao Miyazaki and his team at Studio Ghibli, Spirited Away takes the audience on a journey of adventure, growing up, and compassion through the perspective of an 11-year old girl, Chihiro.
In my interpretation of the film, I chose to stay close to the story while fleshing out the backstories of characters like Yu-Baba, Zeni-Ba, and Haku. I also stepped away from the costumes in the animated film and took a realistic approach. I focused on the inspirations that Miyazaki felt were profound while also looking at historical research in the Meiji Period. I also used swatches that were imported originally from Japan to really immerse myself in the world.
The freedom to choose an overall theme to this Cirque project allowed me to create a story that shows the effect that we have, as humans, on the environment that we live in.
We follow a fragile butterfly (1) across a tightrope who falls due to carbon monoxide in the air from families coming to see the circus. Caught in the wind (2), the butterfly begins to unravel and by the time she reaches the trees (3), she is trapped. A forest fire (4) causes her become severely wounded. (4.5) She makes her way through an interlude to find herself fallen into the deep ocean.Mermen (5) in the water carry the wounded butterfly down and she is reborn, performing a ballet (6). Creatures of the deep (7) create a whirlpool effect which launches her back to land. She lands on a cut down tree stump from the forest fire and is brought upright to be killed by a knife throwing act (8) performed by planted audience members to show that we as humans destroy the most beautiful things in this world.
The Miser by Moliere
When World War I has passed and social status once again becomes the main focus in the business of family, looking the part and playing the part come together hand-in-hand. From gambling to schemes for profit, we find that no one is innocent in this web of lies that grows. The Miser is set in the 1920's and in this interpretation, the world outside is full of life and color while the inside of Harpagon’s home mutes everyone to metallics, grays, whites, and blacks.
The Taming of the Shrew
by William Shakespeare
Set in the 1950's after World War II, men in the family are taking back control of their positions in the world. Women are now forced back into a world of obedience and become cookie cutter versions of themselves.