Richard III gets suit of French porcelain

24th January 2016, Comments 0 comments

Costume designers never stint when it comes to Shakespeare. Whether it be silk doublets and padded hose, or robes woven with gold thread, elaborate costumes are a must for any director hoping to do justice to the Bard's work.

So when actor and director Jean Lambert-Wild decided to stage a production of Richard III, he didn't hesitate to choose a rather unusual material for his lead character's suit of armour -- porcelain.

As director of the National Drama Centre in Limoges in central France, Lambert-Wild has long cherished an ambition to put the city's celebrated porcelain on stage.

"When I started to immerse myself in the text of Richard III and learn about his story, I quickly became convinced that porcelain would be right here," he said.

Embarking on what he calls a "crazy adventure", Lambert-Wild and costume designers Theatre of the Union set about creating a porcelain suit of armour for the play in which he also plays the lead role.

The result was a six-kilogramme-plus (13 pound) work of art elaborately decorated in Limoges' trademark blue.

It took more than seven months' work with seven pieces moulded directly onto the director's body.

Now the piece is finished Lambert-Wild is even more convinced that it was the perfect material for the costume.

"There's something very poetic about making armour, which symbolises strength, virility and must protect the body, in a material which in the imagination reflects fragility, delicacy and subtlety.

"For me this piece of clothing is a beautiful interpretation of Richard III -- beneath superficial power, fragility, flaws."

Ten performances of the play will be staged in Limoges until January 29. The production will then tour in France before moving to Brussels in late February and Switzerland in May.

© 2016 AFP

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