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Who is Julie Taymor?

This is a presentation of Julie Taymor and her contribution to the production aspect of the performing arts.
by

Christina Johnson

on 5 October 2012

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Transcript of Who is Julie Taymor?

Putting time and energy into whats in front of the curtain as well as behind the curtain. This is Julie Taymor's journey, -Born in 1952, Newton, MA

-Dad, gynecologist.

-Mom, teacher of political science

-Parents let her be creative and free.

-Youngest of three by six years.
-Julie had a liking for international folklore and mythology.

-Julie was also involved in theater at a young age; started acting at the age of 10 in Boston.

-Julie has lived in many places: Sri Lanka, India, Paris, Japan, Los Angeles,Indonesia, Asia, Europe, Tokyo, Venice, and Moscow.

-Eventually she worked for The Boston Children's Theater

-Julie created her own major in the ritual origins of theatre through the study of folklore and mythology at Oberlin College, graduating in 1974 with a degree in folklore and mythology."
-IMDb.com

-Paris, she studied at: L'Ecole de mime Jacques Lecoq.

-Japan,studied the art of puppetry and Japanese theatre.

-Spent 5 years in Indonesia, working as director of international theatre with Asian, European, and American actors.

-Broadway in US. -Now the: Director, Costume Designer, and Mask Maker for The Lion King on Broadway. -Julie has directed many classic operas
-William Shakespeare's "Titus Andronicus","Juan Darién: A Carnival Mass" at the Lincoln Center. In 1997, a massive Walt Disney Company's production of "The Lion King" on Broadway, for which she also co-designed over a 100 costumes and masks of animals, and earned two Tony Awards.

Her film, Frida (2002), received six Oscar nominations, and two Oscars, for make-up and for the music score by Elliot Goldenthal. 2004 production of "The Magic Flute" at the Metropolitan Opera (which is now in repertoires at the Met) Taymor's experience with cross-genre and cross-cultural productions came to culmination in her latest film, Across the Universe (2007).

Taymor's first project in the United States was when she designed the set, costume, puppet and mask concepts for The Odyssey at Baltimore's Center Stage (Burns 51). Taymor was then awarded a Maharam Theatre Design award for her work with The Haggadah at the New York Shakespeare Festival in 1980. This production consisted of a reenactment of the Jewish Passover festival.
Indeed, Taymor is one of the artists leading the way in instructing Americans about this power.
Yet Taymor does not wish to be looked upon as only a puppet artist. Her career consists of much more than her operating as a "puppeteer," a term which she despises. She says:
Sounds like a mouseketeer. . . . It's an easy peg, but I've never been a puppeteer, I conceive and I write and I design and I direct. And not just puppets. I direct actors, I direct dancers, I direct singers, I direct films. I also direct puppeteers. I'm really a theatre maker, but there's not a word for that. (Reardon 10).Yet Taymor has received international recognition for her puppetry work, and has established herself as one of the imaginative pioneers in the field. As her names becomes more and more commonplace in the discussion of puppetry, it is almost a certainty that she will exert an influence upon future puppet artists. As such, it is useful to study Ms. Taymor's puppetry career. Background Information Creative Process

sophmore year, apprenticed at the Bread and Puppet Theatre



-"After her senior year at Oberlin, Taymor spent a summer in Seattle. Here she studied Javanese shadow puppetry and wood carving at the American Society for Eastern Arts (Burns 50). Her work her enabled her to receive a Watson Fellowship, which allowed her to travel to Eastern Europe, Japan and Indonesia (Reardon 10)." Getting into her artistic self Significant Collaborations Significant Produtions Designed Why She Is Important In The History Of Dance Design "Taymor would have her mother make faces at her, which she would attempt to draw. This is still her primary technique today for creating puppet and mask expressions" (Horn 63).
http://www.sagecraft.com/puppetry/papers/Taymor.html- -"Taymor worked with Herbert Blau and Bill Irwin, both noted for their avant-garde staging techniques" (Gussow 1992: 52).
-Directed and written Across the Universe :co-diectors: Jennifer Todd, Suzanne Todd, Charles Newirth. Other writters: Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais Film editing by: Françoise Bonnot
-Elizabeth Swados in The Odyssey at The Baltimore Center Stage.
-Michael Curry for the project she renamed Fool’s Fire; a PBS production of Edgar Allen Poe's short story Hopfrog
- The King Stag, directed by Andrei Serban

Taymor prides herself in choosing quality over quantity. Hence, she works at a gradual pace which allows her productions and pieces to be excellent, as opposed to rapid, rushed work. With this working habit, she is known to do only a few projects at a time.
"It's very exhausting. . . I can't design a mask and say to someone else, "Just do it." It's partly because I'm a better sculptor than I am a drawer. Considering the amount of time it would take me to draw exactly what I want, I might as well sculpt it. I paint most of it too. It's incredibly time consuming so I end up turning down a lot of jobs I want to do" (Shewey 72).

Oprah: What is your process of creation? How do you get inspiration? Julie: For each hat I wear there's a different creative process. When I'm sculpting, I work with wood and clay, and though some say that an image is already in the material and the sculptor just has to discover it, I also believe you have an image in your head that you're trying to get to. So you're in a dialogue with the piece, a back-and-forth. When I'm working as a director, I might have an idea of my own but I'm also trying to get great ideas out of my actors. Directing is much more psychological—it's a lot like being a general. And you have to be organized. While you're making a film, you have between 2 and 500 people asking you a billion questions.

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/omagazine/Oprah-Interviews-Julie-Taymor/3#ixzz28OLUMrMB Taymor utilized 150 masks and puppets for this production in Liberty’s Taken.

"Her puppet work in this production consisted, in part, of shadow puppets which enacted the ten plagues (Horn 69). (Also creative process) These were enhanced by two-dimensional frogs and locusts that flew about the audience, attached to strings" (Horn 69).

William Shakespeare's The Tempest: used puppets and masks
"Taymor's time in Indonesia definitely had an influence on her handling of the storm contained in the beginning of the play. A cut- out of a ship is seen sailing on the horizon. As the tempest hits, a shadow screen drops from the ceiling, and the shadow from this cut-out is projected onto the screen by a hand held light source. The operators move both the light source and the cut-out, and an abstract storm effect is achieved through what basically amounts to a shadow puppet."

She designed costumes, masks and puppets for The King Stag, which was directed by Andrei Serban (Burns 51). A bear puppet that she designed for this production was sent to Czechoslovakia as a part of the winning entry to the Prague Quadrennial International design competition (Burns 52).

Most innovative contribution to production: Ariel represented by a hand-held mask and a costumed hand, which would be manipulated by an operator garbed in all black, much in the same way as a left hand or foot operator of a Japanese bunraku puppet. She says of this decision:
Ariel is described as a spirit. . . I kept wondering "How do you really get the essence of a spirit?". . . That this [hand], with this face could express all of the human emotions which this spirit has, and yet is not a human. ("Behind the Scenes" Video)
Taymor's decision was made in order to capture the essence of a non-human creature, and this says much for the power of puppetry in her performance. Rather than use a human to portray the spirit, Taymor has opted for the magic of puppetry. She says:
That it [the Ariel mask] is absolutely nothing more than an object, that is brought to life by an actress' talent, by her ability to manipulate it that it has so much humanity through the movement, to me this is sort of the essence of theatre. ("Behind the Scenes" Video) Playing with Fire (Abrams) are The Haggadah (1980), Liberty's Taken (1985), Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus (1994), which Taymor later directed as a film starring Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange, The Green Bird (1996), and Juan Darien (1996), for which she received a Tony nomination for best direction of a musical and best scenic design. As the famed composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim has said: "Julie is uncategorizable as an artist."

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/omagazine/Oprah-Interviews-Julie-Taymor#ixzz28O9BuCCx Oprah: When you're carving masks, how do you create an expression that conveys the essence of a character?
Julie: When creating masks for The Lion King, I tried to abstract the essence of the character to a word or notion. The character Scar is obviously off-center because he has a scar on one side of his face. He's twisted. He's angular. The mask of Mufasa, who is Scar's polar opposite, is all about symmetry. So the rays of circles that surround his head became his mane.
Read more: http://www.oprah.com/omagazine/Oprah-Interviews-Julie-Taymor/3#ixzz28OLutIkk Oprah: It was such a brilliant idea to allow the audience to see the actors and the puppets simultaneously—that way the audience can participate through their imagination.
Julie: Yes. People have become so literal because they're used to reality-based television. I could have used a movie projector to project the image of a sun onto the stage, and I also could have hidden everybody in costumes. But then the audience would have thought, "That's silly—there's a person inside there!" I chose instead to make the people apparent and to have the audience enjoy not just the story but the art and style of telling it. I'm a firm believer in the idea that theater excels over film and TV in its ability to let people play with poetry. I don't mean to sound highfalutin or "artistic"; in America, the word art has become like the word adultery. It's this big scarlet letter. When you say you're an artist, people are like, "Ugh."
Read more: http://www.oprah.com/omagazine/Oprah-Interviews-Julie-Taymor/4#ixzz28OMmYlvk sources:

1.http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0853380/bio
2.http://macmomdaly.com/2012/04/18/what-does-a-king-of-the-beast-and-a-tortured-artist-have-in-common-julie-taymor/
3.http://www.sagecraft.com/puppetry/papers/Taymor.html
4.http://www.oprah.com/omagazine/Oprah-Interviews-Julie-Taymor/9
5 http://www.google.com/imgres?hl=en&sa=X&biw=1366&bih=600&tbm=isch&prmd=imvns&tbnid=vGfTmD7M6xe7JM:&imgrefurl=http://thisrecording.com/today/2011/5/9/in-which-we-grab-the-hand-of-the-king.html&docid=viEG8U9lhnlwzM&imgurl=http://thisrecording.com/storage/lion-king-scar_l.jpg%253F__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION%253D1304945790205&w=400&h=300&ei=UCRvUIKNKYf00gGo8YHYDQ&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=112&vpy=295&dur=92&hovh=194&hovw=259&tx=103&ty=223&sig=104505879096426932729&page=1&tbnh=122&tbnw=163&start=0&ndsp=27&ved=1t:429,r:18,s:0,i:129
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