Question No. 19: Why do you like papier maché and did you recently have a dream about it where you were making giant papier maché figures, dressing them in real antique courtly constume?
Was a running out of questions when I wrote this or did it seem important to pose this question, I wonder. Anyway, yes I love papier maché very much. Not that I have much experience with it. It’s just that, when objects, big or small, need to be made as a set piece or for, other, well, i don’t know if I’ve ever done pm but for making set pieces, it’s something I seem to be able to do quite easily. Need a top hat? I can make you one out of pm that, at least from a distance, looks just like a top hat, especially if I tie a ribbon around it. I can make masks out of the stuff or wee objets and the like.
Oh right, yes, I had a dream the other night (maybe a week ago) that I was making all these giant figures out of papier maché and then dressing them in sort of Tudor gowns. That’s what you get for binge-watching that entire series, which was on Showtime, ten years after it began. But for the one-note-notiness of Jonathan Rys Meyers, who is often, himself very good, the show really is brilliant, particularly when it comes to the direction and photography. The show looks beautiful and is shot from very interesting angles and with just the right effect. I remember seeing Natalie Dormer’s demise as Ann Boleyn many moons ago and it lost none of its effectiveness in the revision. In a way it really was the pioneer of many series which have come after, some kind of cartoony English fodder—Merlin, Mary Queen of Scotts, on and on—but also I can see Game of Thrones in the Tudors. My guess is many people moved from that older show to the newer one. Many of the actors, besides Natalie Dormer surely did. In both, she is a queen trying to keep her tenuous hold on her power while having a gay brother whose going to be persecuted for being so.
Anyway the figures I was making out of papier maché and then dressing in silk and damask were absolutely giant sized. Like enornous totem puppets. Ornate, beautiful but a bit scary. They weren’t animated but they were, on some level, alive, like a wall of silent guardians or archetypal totem poles were to be consulted and considered in the making of ones decisions or the taking of actions. They formed this sort of Greek chorus and maybe they weren’t totally fixed, perhaps they swayed or swiveled a bit, their finery also blowing and swaying in some artificial breeze. As I write this I think of the first ever production of Rites of Spring. The effect of this theatrical moment in my dream, whether or not these figures were created (by me?) in papier maché