Finding the Cracks of Our Own Despair & Filling Them with Gold

My biggest inspiration for this work is Patrick Mullins. In our first conversation about collaborating, he spoke big-heartedly of this classic tale and it’s relevance in today’s world; he spoke with earnest passion about wanting to give the audience a fresh look at the story of Oliver Twist. It was his hopefulness in the transformative power of this fairytale that piqued my own enthusiasm for the work. 

One of my first steps in the process of creating for Oliver Twist, and any project I begin, is to gather inspirational images. Looking over various images creates something of a road map for me, where I’m able to determine what this show will be and will not be. It’s where I find my vocabulary of an aesthetic. 

I was inspired by images that played with light and dark — creating shadows. I was particularly inspired by the simple silhouettes of Robert Wilson’s work. His stage images are poetic, and I hope to visually capture some of the poetic-ness of Dickens' writing. I was also inspired by industrial images from the London workhouses and the London Olympic opening ceremony. 

Another image that gave me great inspiration was the Japanese style of pottery called kintsukuroi, which means to “repair with gold.” It’s about how to take what’s broken and make it better. How can we use storytelling to do the same? From the concept of kintsukuroi, I knew that I wanted there to be moments of gold in the show. Nothing gaudy and overdone — but whimsical highlights. Moments of rich beauty in a story that reveals some of most broken parts of humanity. It’s in those moments that I hope to create the same hopefulness for the audience, that first inspired me. I hope to find the cracks of our own despair and fill them with just a bit of gold.