I collaborated with Sally Barden with the aim to create work responding to past visual interpretation of the play. For the film of “Love in Idleness” I did not concentrate on the full play, an animation would be too short to capture the complexity of the entire play. I was very interested in the role of Titania
Looking at the play and therefore at the paintings and illustrations inspired by Midsummer, one quickly realizes the representation of Titania is a very subdue and a poor representation of a woman. The whole play and the painting portray Titania being tricked twice: as a lover and as a mother.
Apart the research provided by Sally Barden my work was purely based on a personal emotional response of as a contemporary woman reading the play today, reflecting on the role of Titania as Woman, Lover and Mother. To put the topic in context it might be helpful to state that I am not a mother and I cannot ever be one, and I am a feminist. Hence my sense of womanhood is “distorted” in comparison to the expected standard. It probably does affect my reading of the play and the role of Titania.
The scene I decided to concentrate on it is when Titania, under a spell, falls in love with Donkey and copulates with him. The tender copulation becomes the punitive act for which she will loose the child, and hence it becomes the act that replace the child itself. I used symbolism from the play and from my own work to portray an alternative inner journey for Titania.
The use of charcoal as a technique is a choice to represent the act of creating images and drawings in the motionless status. By making each frame still visible after erasure; hence to draw each frame clearly visible over the others frames; it allows the viewer to perceive animation in itself. This helps to remove the illusion that a drawing is moving and clearly showing how the movement is created, revealing the magic of the spell.
The technique also allowed to play with the acts of transformation and morphing of Titania ,changing her and allowing her body to become a representation of her own emotional states. Using charcoal, repeating frames, erasing, overlapping and the purple became part of a symbolic vocabulary to concisely represent Titania : a woman tricked for following her own instincts.