A Sketch of Angler Fishes.
The Cunning Little Vixen
The Cunning Little Vixen is a speculative project I designed based on an Opera by Leoš Janáček in the 1920s. It depicts a little vixen's encounter of growing up in the parallel worlds between the animals and humans.
After some research on real wild animals, I realized that most of them do not appear to attract humans, instead, their appearance is more practical, sometimes even unexpected from a human's perspective.
Meshed Wolf by Kendra Haste.
Foxes in Cages.
The Squash(2017) by Anthea Hamilton.
I gained some inspirations from existed performances. The functions and visual effects of the employed elements inspired my design.
Also, some inspirations are from existed performances. The functions and visual effects of the employed elements inspired my design.
Vixen being Assaulted
A ball of yarn was designed to represent Vixen as an infant. Sight restricted, the actress had to move clumsily onstage, like animal cubs at the beginning of their life. Also, it covered Vixen’s body, protected her from potential sexual harassments.
As the cover was removed by Forester’s Wife, Vixen became vulnerable. Her bob-cut hair was disciplined but failed to veal her body. She kept suffering sexual harassments from others. Gauze bodysuit was to represent nudity with female parts emphasised.
Ran away from the human, Vixen grew up in the forest to be a strong and cunning female fox. She now had her natural hairs back. Hairs protected her and made her more sexually appealing. She also used her hairs as a weapon, almost strangled a hunter who wanted to kill her.
Appeared like a magician and won the heart of Vixen, he promised to come back next year. Was he a reliable gentleman or a love cheater?
He did struggle a lot to play the three creatures at the same time.
He came in with another outfit. Almost failed to play an owl, but here comes at the back!
Owned his property in the forest. Could not stand on any disrespectful behaviour.
Kidnapped Vixen and took her to his home. He was more of a desperate middle-aged man rather than a villain. Brown outfits, boots and a hand stick indicated his occupation of a forester.
Strictly disciplined housewife in her mid-age. Always carried a groom with her as a handy tool to clean the houses and regulate the animals. The material of her groom remained suspicious. Could it be a fur of another fox came into her house?
Gooey intellectual. Could be the only one in the village knowing how to read despite Reverend. He always carried a book with him.
Flamboyant new money who always carried a shotgun with him. His rubber bodysuit indicated he is a playboy.
Lead ballerino. Dressed decently that contrasted with his hens.
Wore little and acted dissolutely.
A wretched dog. Sexually harassed Vixen.
Old, strict, single reverend.
Dressed like a waiter but sexier, which was a bit unusual in a remote town. He and his wife owned the only inn in the village.
Claimed herself to be Innkeeper’s Wife but people never saw the couple appeared together. Were they a couple or were they actually the same man?
Frog. Nothing special.
I became to wonder how a little vixen would appear. She needs to have some female natures as well as animal natures, as the script requires.
Long furs can protect her from being harmed by creatures and surroundings. In the meanwhile, her body is naked showing her female fragility.
Inspiration and Development
Some experiments were made to see if this idea of furs can be furthered into set design.
I wanted the whole set to be covered with furs to show vixen's authority in the forest.
The length of Vixen's fur indicates her current status.
She was a furball when she has not been tamed by humans;
When she was in Forester's house, her furs got trimmed which made her highly vulnerable;
She had her long furs again after she ran into the forest and became a grown-up.
The costumes of other characters are high-flexible. So they can interact with Vixen and her furs with dancing-like movements.
When Vixen struggled to escape from Forester, furs fell from up to the ground, representing her injures. The background translucent screen was lit up with yellow-greenish lighting to show it happened in the early morning.
Vixen was taken off her cover and tortured in Forrester’s cabin but managed to hang the hens with scattered furs as revenge. The metal structure was lifted from the ground to represent Forrester’s cabin. The background was lit up with white lights.
Vixen revealed her female part in front of Badger to drive him away. The metal structure was lifted halfway through and wool beams were covering on the top of it to form Badger’s cave. The background was lit up with darker green lights.
People gathered in the local inn to have a drink. The metal structure hidden underground was lifted all and used as a bar. A beer glass sign flew in indicating their location. The background was lit up with dawn-like lights.
After the drinking party, Schoolmaster and Reverend came into the forest separately. It was revealed out that they both have their love issues. They did not realise each other's presence but Vixen witnessed everything in the cave. She became to think about finding someone. The background was lit up with dawn-like lights.
Time flew and Vixen grew up. She ruled the forest, having her furs all around. Hunter came into the forest to catch Vixen. She almost strangled him, but he shot her with his shotgun. Vixen died and all the furs collapsed. Hunter collected all the furs, pulled them off stage as his spoils. The metal structure collapsed while they fought. The background became even darker.
All the things collapsed after Vixen’s death so people had no more bar. They talked awkwardly pretending nothing happened on them. But all their lives were changed actually. The background was lit with dusk-like lights.
All the things happened again with dusk-like lights. Forester found Vixen's daughter. He chased her while promising 'he will do things right this time'.
The background translucent screen was lit up with yellow-greenish lighting to show things started from early morning, it gradually changed into dawn and the sun rose again, in the end, to convey the notion concluded in the script that there was a cycle of life.