Saturday, December 18, 2010
The title character
Years and years ago, DH and I attended a performance of The Nutcracker by the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center, which was probably the most elaborately staged production I've ever seen. Two scenes from Act I still stand out in my mind.
The first takes place after the holiday party guests have departed and the family retires for the evening. Before the wondering eyes of the audience, the Christmas tree begins magically to grow larger than life.
My second recollection is the moment after Clara has dispatched the Mouse King with a well-placed toss of her shoe and the Nutcracker is transformed into a handsome prince. The "break-away" costume for that production was designed by Kermit Love, one of the original collaborators with Jim Henson in creating The Muppets.
So in designing the title character for my Nutcracker series, I was inspired by these memories. I didn't want a garish creature who didn't have a prayer of eventually turning into a handsome prince, and I wanted to pose him in front of that awe-inspiring tree. But no self-respecting tree would appear in public without a little garland! So the first thing I'll be doing before I start to stitch this canvas will be to add a little gold to the background so that dense green looks more like a stylized Christmas tree.