Voyeurs de Venus (selection)

Saartjie Baartmann: production photo

Saartjie Baartmann: production photo

Saartjie Baartmann: production photo

Saartjie Baartmann: production photo

Saartjie Baartmann: concept rendering for ghost dress

Saartjie Baartmann: concept rendering for ghost dress

Saartjie Baartmann: concept rendering and technical drawing for padding

Saartjie Baartmann: concept rendering and technical drawing for padding

Saartjie Baartmann: reference. There are no known photos of Ms. Baartmann, so what Sara imagines of her is mixed from historical illustrations and how she sees herself Thus, the ghostlike quality.

Saartjie Baartmann: reference. There are no known photos of Ms. Baartmann, so what Sara imagines of her is mixed from historical illustrations and how she sees herself Thus, the ghostlike quality.

Sara Washington: production photo

Sara Washington: production photo

Sara Washington: concept rendering

Sara Washington: concept rendering

Sara Washington: reference. Images taken from the 2007-2008 J/Crew catalog and other fashions from the time period. She's an academic through and through, and presents sharper and harder than she actually is.

Sara Washington: reference. Images taken from the 2007-2008 J/Crew catalog and other fashions from the time period. She's an academic through and through, and presents sharper and harder than she actually is.

Georges Cuvier: production photo

Georges Cuvier: production photo

Georges Cuvier: concept rendering

Georges Cuvier: concept rendering

Georges Cuvier: reference. I took paintings of the actual Cuvier (a French archeologist), and exagerrated the proportion of the shoulders and the lapel. This makes him larger than life and intimiating, just like Sara might imagine him to be.

Georges Cuvier: reference. I took paintings of the actual Cuvier (a French archeologist), and exagerrated the proportion of the shoulders and the lapel. This makes him larger than life and intimiating, just like Sara might imagine him to be.

Millicent Ducent: production photo

Millicent Ducent: production photo

Millicent Ducent: concept rendering

Millicent Ducent: concept rendering

Millicent Ducent: reference. Her dress didn't actually exist in historical record; it had to be a combination of a nurses' uniform, a Victorian maid's dress, and have high waist of a 1810's gown.

Millicent Ducent: reference. Her dress didn't actually exist in historical record; it had to be a combination of a nurses' uniform, a Victorian maid's dress, and have high waist of a 1810's gown.

Dream Dancer: production photo

Dream Dancer: production photo

Dream Dancer: concept rendering

Dream Dancer: concept rendering

Dream Dancer: reference. 1810s ballgowns, ghostly chiffon fabric and feathers. All built for movement and disorientation on stage.

Dream Dancer: reference. 1810s ballgowns, ghostly chiffon fabric and feathers. All built for movement and disorientation on stage.

These dresses bled; some distressing references are above.

These dresses bled; some distressing references are above.

Voyeurs de Venus
by Lydia Diamond
directed by Tasia Jones
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Sara, a young African-American scholar of pop culture is writing a book about Saartjie Baartman, better known as the 19th-century sideshow sensation “The Hottentot Venus.” The deeper Sara delves, the more tragic and shocking Saartjie’s story becomes, and the more Sara is forced to confront her own identity and complicated relationships. Faced with frequent dreams of Saartjie and pressure from her publishers, Sara is forced to wonder; can she honor the life and memory of Saartjie Bartman and still write a bestseller? Written by Northwestern alumni, Lydia R. Diamond (Stick Fly, Smart People, The Bluest Eye), this bold, often comedic, and revealing drama won the Joseph Jefferson Award for “Best New Play” in 2006.
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Research, prelims, and final renderings.

Date
April 18, 2019