Platée: Who Writes and Opera About an Ugly Nymph?

The semester is finally over and it's a huge relief! I have been feeling a bit under the weather during the last week trying to finish assignments, packing to go home and getting the rest of my life in order. I started feeling a million times better yesterday after I presented my design for the Richard III paper project. I also had some downtime after the presentation to talk with the set designer for Platée, which is the opera I'll be designing in the Spring at school. The show doesn't open until May 10th, so I have a while. Platée is an 18th century French Baroque comedy written by Jean-Philippe Rameau. The basic plot line is about an ugly nymph that the Gods take advantage of and humiliate. The production team is still in the early part of the design phase, but we are discussing about modernizing the location and costumes and bring something a bit more succulent to the plot. It has been enjoyable developing the preliminary concepts with the production team. We're still in the early phases of the piece, so it's nice to dream big still. I am going to try to get some pictures of the show concepts up eventually, so everyone can hopefully see how the piece evolves and what finally is decided.

I was able to order a DVD of Platée that the Paris Opera performed in 1999. I think watching the piece will help me understand the story better and give me some inspiration on some general areas to start researching my design. It will be a nice way to spend my winter break; watching movies and catching up on my French history and Roman Mythology.

The one major challenge that I didn't mention is the plot needs to be in rep with a music festival the week before my show goes into tech. This is by far going to be the biggest challenge and affect my design choices the most. It is an interesting way to work, but it is not my ideal situation.

It has been almost a year since I've collaborated on any major project like this. I am really enjoying working with others towards a unified vision. It's also a nice way for me to finally meet people outside of school. CalArts is by no means an individualized institution. The six schools that make up CalArts (Art, Film/Video, Critical Studies, Dance, Music and Theatre) interact with each other constantly. I just have not had the opportunity to be at school that much with my internship. Working on Platée is great because it incorporates the music and dance school with the theatre program. I am looking forward to working on Platée, especially because it is in the MOD theatre, which always seems to be a challenge.

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