the cardinals: men of the cloth

22Jan11

Since Stan’s Cafe’s first creation almost 20 years ago, we’ve been going to the Fancy Silk Store in the Bullring for bits ‘n pieces of costume and set dressing. Here you will find a treasure trove, jam-packed onto 4 floors – which assaults the visual and the haptic. It’s the kind of place that makes me wish I’d done Textiles at Birmingham Poly instead of…. (ok, maybe not, but in that other life I could’ve designed myself outfits that would’ve trumped those of Gilbert & George and made Grayson Perry blush …ok, maybe not that either, but….well, you get the picture). A lunchtime vanishes for James and me as we gorge on this cornucopeia, hoarded from the corners of the globe.  Then, in an instant the set budget vanishes at the till and we return to the factory to suspend our cloth across the steel-frame box made for us by the metalworkers of AE Harris.

The emerging script for The Cardinals is in effect a giant textile-swatch. The Biblical scenarios run in phrased sequences with the multi-coloured leaves of the Book turning accordingly over the back wall: A velvety sheen for the Void, a fiery backdrop behind a parting Red Sea, a glittery night sky for the Magi. The language of the piece steadily growing out of this pragmatic relationship between the manipulation of materials and the economic storytelling. In this beginning there is no Word, just Weave.

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