Thursday, January 26, 2012

Julie Taymor: Playing With Fire

Julie Taymor's Playing With Fire is a riveting book. Less an art book, and more of an insight into the decisions and personal, as well as universal symbology as seen by Julie Taymore. Except for an introduction that talks about Taymor's experiences growing up and becoming a director, the book is written largely by Taymor herself. Each play has it's own section in which Taymor discribes how she interpreted the play, what her intentions were, her decision making process from costumes to backgrounds, to which characters are represented by people and which are only props, and always, why. Throughout her discourse about that particular play, images associated with it, such as sketches, stage performances, costumes, and cameo shots are thrown in. Despite Taymor being such a visual artist, there is relatively little documented art in the book. That being said, I cannot express enough exactly how intriguing it is to read the extremely well written Taymor's thoughts and beliefs on such a specific and intimate level. Please enjoy her provoking work.

An Answering-service operator manipulates "herself"

A rape scene, Taymor dresses Lavinia as a doe and has her symbolically attacked by tigers

A work she is most publicly recognized for, Taymor was responsible for much of the Lion King Broadway Musical

Character designs for the Lion King drawn by Taymor:
Mufasa, Scar, Simba
three tricksters
Nala, Rafiki, and a hyena

Julie Taymor herself
Pros: A nice sized book that documents all of Taymor's works, the binding is solid and sturdy. The true treasure of this book is what Taymore has written about herself. If you are interested in symbology, I highly recommend this book. 

Cons: Less imagery than expected, and early work is documented in black and white

How to Buy: Amazon
Note of Confusion: Instead of releasing new compilations, every time Taymor completes a few new plays, she updates Playing With Fire, keeping the same name, and the same cover. This being said, you can buy old versions of her book for rather cheap. New editions cover everything that previous editions had, just added new material for the new work. Just know how much you want.

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