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Andrea Bilkey
Is He Dead?

Author: Andrea Bilkey

Performance space: Maedgen Theatre

Theatre company/company produced for: Texas Tech University

Month & year of original production: December 2012

Description of items intended for exhibition:
Drawing

Project description:
This collegiate performance of "Is He Dead?" by Mark Twain, adaptation by David Ives, is a fictional piece about the artist Jean Francois Millet who finds that monetary worth is only achieved posthumously and, through the help of his friends, becomes his twin sister in order to fake his death and sell off his works.

This production centered on the idea of a 'living painting' set in the 1800's. To achieve this union of collaboration, all aspects were inspired by the 1800's masters, as well as Millet's own studio and work: the movement and direction were stylized, the costumes were period, the overall look of the scenery was derived by paintings of and exhibitions within parlors, and the lighting was inspired by the modeling present in Chiaroscuro paintings.

This sense of light vs. dark, highlight vs. shadow, and hue vs. value, were aided by the inclusion of black scrim behind which, the entirety of the play took place: the finishing touch on our living Chiaroscuro painting.

Artform:
Lighting Design

Designers:
Set designer: Matthew Plummer
Costume designer: Melissa Merz
Lighting designer: Andrea Bilkey
Sound designer: Jessica Alvarado
Director/choreographer: Dr. Jonathan Marks
Other creative collaborators: Movement: Courtney Brown

Image gallery

Andrea Bilkey - Is He Dead?

Is He Dead? "End of Act 1"
Millet's nemesis Bastien Andre proposes to Millet's "twin sister" the Widow Tillou, who faints

Photography by Andrea Bilkey

Andrea Bilkey - Is He Dead?

Is He Dead? "The Angelus"
Basil Thorpe ponders purchasing "The Angelus"

Photography by Andrea Bilkey

Andrea Bilkey - Is He Dead?

Is He Dead? "The King's Arrival"
The King of France, The Sultan of Turkey, and The Emperor of Russia come to ensure Millet is in the casket

Photography by Andrea Bilkey

Andrea Bilkey - Is He Dead?

Is He Dead? "Ashcat!"
Cecile Leroux accuses Bastien Andre of being "an Ashcat!"

Photography by Andrea Bilkey

Andrea Bilkey - Is He Dead?

Is He Dead? "Millet's Studio"
The audience was greeted with just the black scrim lit with white light: a blank canvas. This moment is the top of the performance, where we bleed through the scrim to enter Millet's studio "through the blank canvas"

Photography by Andrea Bilkey

Andrea Bilkey - Is He Dead?

Is He Dead? "Epilogue"
Whereas we began the performance with the blank canvas of black scrim representing Millet's struggles as an artist, we end with a splattered canvas inspired by his journey into and out of a ruse, then back to the arms of his beloved Marie Leroux and to his life as the artist Jean Francois Millet

Photography by Andrea Bilkey

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