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Topic: Amour, or La Passe Murraille  (Read 7012 times)
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« on: June 30, 2005 09:13:44 PM »

I love dioramas, but haven't made one in years.  When I found out about this craft challenge, I knew I had to participate.  After the colossal failure of my first challenge attempt (did not post it because it just didn't work), I knew I wanted to make something spectacular.

After much thought and consideration, I wound up being inspired by one of my first loves: musical theater.  At the 2005 Tony Awards, a little show called The Light in the Piazza was considered by many a complete underdog in the Tony race for everything but Best Leading Actress.  However, it went on to win for best score among many other awards, and just came short of winning Best Musical.

The size of the show, the subject matter, and overall style reminded me of one of my favorite little-shows-that-couldn't of all time.

In 2002, a little pocket music finally made the transition from France to America, bringing with it one of the most original, beautiful, enchanting, melancholy yet hopeful musicals to hit Broadway in years: Amour.  Amour told the classic story of a mild mannered civil servant, Dusoleil, who discovers one night during a storm that he has developed the ability to walk through walls.  He suddenly realizes he has the power to change his life and get the attention of the woman he loves, Isabelle.  Dusoleil becomes a public avenger, who is dubbed by the local paper Passparteu.  However, he soon realizes that Isabelle has fallen in love with his alter ego and not himself, and exposes who he really is to the woman he loves.  If you know the musical (or the story), youll know what this scene depicts.  But even those who do not know the true ending of the show will be able to see how romantic the scene is of Dusoleil passing through the wall to his beloved Isabelle to try and be together. 

Full Shot

Dusoleil Goes Through The Wall

Dusoleil Finds His Isabelle

An Artist Finds His Inspiration

The Heart Fountain Jumps For Joy

What A Beautiful Day For Young Lovers

Truthfully, I have never heard a score for any show that has effected me quite as much as this one.  The cast was magnificent and the show opened me up to the wonderful world of composer Michel Legrand (if the name sounds familiar, perhaps you know of the amazing film musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg).

Unfortunately, on Broadway, the show was plagued with many technical problems throughout previews.  The logistics behind the set design and achieving realistic representations of a very surrealistic idea with Dusoleils ability resulted in the show being a critical and commercial failure, lasting only 17 performances on Broadway. 

Likewise, my diorama project has been hit with many problems and setbacks.  Clay figures smashed apart, walls collapsed, paint spilled, boxes warped, trees refused to retain color, painters refused to sit upright, and many others.

However, the piece finally came together today and I couldnt be more proud.

The cardboard was painted with a mixture of acrylic paints and a half water/half glue compound, much in the style of watercolors.  The backgrounds colors are intentionally heightened and, at some points, unrealistic, to try and capture some of the whimsy and pure joy of the scenario depicted.

Dusoleil, Isabelle, the Painter (a featured character in the show who finally finds inspiration through Dusoleil), the easel, stool, and canvas are all Sculpey clay painted with a blend of acrylics and my paste paint.

The trees are Styrofoam cones filed down with a hairbrush to create a leaf like texture, dipped in a mixture of green and red paste paint and patted dry.

The wall is simple craft wood, painted with ceramic style water-based acrylic paints, marbleized by simply putting on a gray base coat and blending in red with a light tapping motion on the brush.

The fountain is two thick cardboard containers, one circular, and one heart shaped, painted with paste paint (turquoise base; green, tan, and blue marble).  The water is iridescent origami paper glued to the cardboard.

Even though the show was not long for Broadway, it was nominated for 5 Tony Awards: Best Musical, Best Leading Actor, Best Leading Actress, Best Book, and Best Score.  The cast album for Amour is a worthy investment and is still widely available today.  A new professional mounting outside of New York City is currently scheduled for a run in late summer, and is a total restaging of the show.  Hopefully, when sufficient time has passed, a Broadway revival will be stagedwith me as the lead, of course.  Smiley
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2005 11:27:58 PM »

I just spent nearly 10 minutes looking at this post, not including the time spent reading it. Wow. That diorama is really amazing. My favorite part is the little artist and his painting.
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« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2005 09:21:12 PM »

Very creative.

I love the colors.

Great job!


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« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2005 05:02:57 PM »

I wound up being inspired by one of my first loves: musical theater. 

"To be matter of fact about the world is to blunder into fantasy -- and dull fantasy at that, as the real world is strange and wonderful." --Robert A. Heinlein
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