The 5 & Dime seeks to unite artists of all genres in innovative approaches to production. Hedwig and The Angry Inch offered the opportunity to do so through the inclusion of the work of some talented local visual artists.
The show’s director, Christopher P Farrell, explains that “Hedwig is a creator… I imagine Hedwig is always working on ‘The Show.’ In the back of a tour bus, on the wall of a bathroom stall, on a bar napkin. She creates, refines, and manipulates images… Hedwig curates her life daily.”
It was important to Mr. Farrell that visual arts be incorporated into the design of the show. So, Sarah van Goidtsnoven, Christina A Boykin, Steven Foster, and Maya Adkins were brought onto the design team as contributing visual artists.
We had the chance to speak with one of those artists, Christina A Boykin – Baltimore native and working artist living in Jacksonville – who enjoys working primarily with chalk pastel on outdoor surfaces, and oils on canvas. Those skills and her love of portraits and figures offer a compelling contribution to this production.
5D: How did you come to be involved with this production?
CB: The director saw my chalk pastel murals in a local Riverside park and we became friends. He eventually asked me to be a part of Hedwig and I attended an early planning meeting. I had never seen the production and was knocked out! Of course I wanted to be a part of it!
5D: How did the director describe his concept for the show to you; how have you worked to develop that visually to help support it in the show? What is your role in the show design?
CB: He felt the simplicity of the chalk pastel medium would express the diary images from Hedwig’s early years. He described a 70’s glam rock infused dark comedy musical. He had color schemes, reference photos, creative ideas for props to try, and a clear idea of what direction he was headed in. One of my larger roles in the production is the art for a stop-motion animation to the song “Origin of Love.” It was a challenge as I was working with a crew I had never worked with before using my regular tools in a brand new way. It is definitely something I’d try again.
5D: How do your designs help support the show’s themes?
CB: I tried to think like a child and draw from Hedwig’s perspective. My color choices were based on the director’s color schemes: bright pink, sky blue, neon green. My mother is from East Berlin, like Hedwig, so I tried to draw from what I know of her history and what it might have been like to be a child near the Wall.
5D: Have you ever done this kind of work for the theatre before? Is it fun/ inspiring/ motivating/ etc. for you? How does collaboration in the arts make the creative process more exciting?
CB: I do have a background in theatre but it was mostly performing. It’s a great perspective to be involved at this level to help enhance the production. It was A LOT of work and as all artists do, I wish I’d had more time (like 12 more months!). Researching how others had interpreted the lyrics to “Origin of Love” was great fun and really inspiring to see how other creatives approached the same challenges. Collaboration in art is always a great thing as long as communication is clear and everyone is on the same page. I have championed collaboration for many years and always felt it enhances the project when great minds think alike.
5D: Other thoughts? Things you want readers to understand?
CB: I had never been exposed to Hedwig prior to this project and so I was coming at it from the perspective of a newbie. I think that gave me a unique angle as I was bringing fresh eyes to an institution of a production. I hope my work adds to the show in the best way possible. Chalk pastel, while it does have its limitations, is much more versatile than I thought. Being involved in a theatre production has been great experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat!
To find out more about Christina and her work, visit www.boykinart.wordpress.com
The 5 & Dime’s commitment to our community is reflected in our mission: The 5 & Dime tells stories that engage, inspire, entertain, and challenge audiences, nurturing a rich artistic culture in Jacksonville’s Urban Core. We’re dedicated to fulfilling that mission but, as you know, we can’t do it alone. The pursuit of excellence and the ability to introduce new audiences to the power of live theatre takes the support of members from the community like you, whose very lives we seek to enrich.
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