Studies in Costume and Performance: New Issue on Bodily Scenography


4.2 is soon to be published! Guest edited by Rachael Grew, whose editorial sets out a post-humanist frame, this issue emerges from the Bodily Scenography: The Body in 20th-Century Stage Design symposium held at Loughborough University, organised by Grew. It includes articles by Rebecca Merriman, Viveka Kjellmer and Urs Georg Dierker, visual essay by Kate Lane, and research reports by Abigail Hammond and Kirsi Manninen. Reviewers of recent publishing on costume include Giulia Bonali, Emerald King and Catherine Kodicek with exhibition reviews from Myrsini Pichou and Chyssa Mantaka. Thank you to Rachael Grew and to all the authors in this issue. Image credits: costume by Kate Lane photographed by Camilla Greenwell.

In my article "Indra's Daughter and the modernist body: Costume and the fashioned body as scenography in A Dream Play (1915-18)" I analyse Swedish scenographer Knut Ström's costume and set design sketches, made in Germany in 1915-18, for his production of August Strindberg's A Dream Play. I focus on the costume sketches for the main character, Indra's daughter, and discuss how the act of costuming is more than just dressing up a body onstage; it also produces the body and makes it meaningful in relation to the scenographic whole.

Ström's staging of Indra's daughter as a modernist woman not only anchors her in the process of social change; it also underlines the 'othering' qualities of costume and serves to distinguish her as an outsider in the play. As pointed out by Barbieri costume can communicate with the spectators both metaphorically and viscerally. In the case of Indra's Daughter, Ström could be said to use the modernist costuming of Indra's Daughter metaphorically to set her apart from the other actors in more traditional costumes, and physically, with colours and shapes of her costumes that visibly stand out from the scenographic whole.

Viveka Kjellmer