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Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
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A reflection on the costume design process for the theatrical production of Taylor Mac’s The Lily's Revenge: A Flowergory Manifold, with book and lyrics by Taylor Mac and music by Rachelle Garniez. The production was directed by Jen Onopa. Performed at the Fine Arts Center, University of Massachusetts Amherst, April 20th to April 29th, 2018.
The Lily’s Revenge is a piece of queer durational theater that tells the story of a Lily who falls in love with a bride and goes on a journey to become a man, so she can marry her. Along the way she faces challenges that force her to evaluate who she is and what love is. Taylor Mac uses multiple theatrical structures, establishing expectations and disrupting them while simultaneously disrupting heteronormative societal expectations. The audience is challenged to consider alternative possibilities for what constitutes happiness in our society, to open their minds to different possibilities of love. At once epic and intimate, ridiculous and real, this is a play rife with contradiction and possibility.
I reflect on the challenges posed by this production, from the ethical considerations of representing the LGBTQ community on stage as a heterosexual cis-gendered woman, to the logistical challenges that accompany a four-hour long piece of theater with five acts set in unique settings and theatrical modes. I walk through the design process from the early research phase to the final design decisions. I examine the collaboration between myself and my team, how their input helped shape the designs. I explore the production process and my experience in guiding this massive show through the costume shop.
I reflect on how I have grown through this experience—my work on this production has been exemplary of my time at UMass in that I have grown both as an artist and as a person. Art is a way of exploring the world and our relationship to it, of thinking about and questioning who we are as people, how we relate to other people, how we can make change in both regards. There is always something to learn about yourself through each production.
Beam, Christina, "How the Light Gets In: A Reflection on the Costume Design Process for Taylor Mac's The Lily's Revenge" (2018). Masters Theses. 630.