Armadillo designer Jasmine Swan takes us through her thought process through both pictures and text in creating the “eerie dreamscape” world (★★★★ Guardian) that Armadillo exists in.
Armadillo – little armoured one. [Spanish]
When creating the world that Armadillo lives in we were really interested in –
SHELLS / LAYERING / PROTECTION
ARMOUR (against the world, against our own feelings, against the past, against trauma, against ourselves, against others and how to stop them hurting us)
WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL SAFE?
WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO PROTECT YOURSELF?
IF YOU HAD TO LIVE IN A NEIGHBOURHOOD WHERE EVERYONE OWNS A GUN DO YOU NEED TO HAVE ONE TO FEEL SAFE?
Sam and John’s home is stripped down. A 2D exploded ground plan without walls. Their bedroom is just a bed in the centre of the room. The fabrics covering the furnishings in their home are pastel kitsch floral patterns, almost Kath-Kidston-esque. The epitome of newlywed married life.
There are three interior spaces:
living room // bathroom // bedroom
We wanted to see different narratives simultaneously playing out.
What do people do when their alone?
Do they behave differently to when they’re around others?
We wanted everything to feel off-kilter and not quite right; unnerving.
The sofa precariously hangs off the side of the living room floor above the water. Nerf guns are ornament-ally splayed on the back wall, hanging off the shelves instead of sitting on top of them.
The presence of screens.
There is a TV screen in each room of the house. They flicker intermittently and burn bright white. It echoes the presence of social media, news coverage, the outside world.
Idea of role play.
What roles do we slip into or are people typically presented as in media stories? Especially cases of child abduction. Do victims or survivors ever get a happy ending? Is there always a damsel in distress/a princess waiting to be rescued, a knight in shining armour and a bad guy.
Element of fairytale;
the house is surrounded by a body of water. A moat with stepping stones. The water links to Sam’s previous trauma and represents everything she’s afraid of. She’s afraid to go outside, she’s afraid to confront her past, she’s afraid to get in the water…until she gets a gun.
The outside coming in.
Outside being: nature, rotting, decomposing, leaves falling off of trees, soil, mud, water, memory, fear.
All the guns. Real guns. Water guns. Nerf guns. Bright acidic pops of colour. Harsh metallic sounds. Sparkling bullets.
Dressing and undressing.
Layering of clothing linked to emotional states. Protection. Shells. Feeling safe, warm. Cold. Naked. Free. Sam goes through a process of putting on and removing layers, some are opaque, others sheer, others eventually made of armour.
COSTUME DESIGN MOOD BOARD FOR SAM
Everything we see on stage is through Sam’s eyes. As she gets further away from reality and is transfixed by the news reports of the missing girl, she relives her past experiences. The whole world warps, pauses, speeds up and takes a breath with her. The video glitches, it focuses in on different facial features, expanding them, blurring them, distorting them. The lighting flashes and pulses, gives us acidic bright pops of colour combined with staccato punchy sounds. Elements of the costumes get brighter and more UV as the play progresses.
You’ve got til 28 June to see Jasmine’s surreal and brilliant designs in person. Tickets cheaper the sooner you book.