Abigail Lewis in Pupae Costume
With Commentary

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Pupae

Commentary by Indra
Here's some info on the "bug machine", a costume which COLLAPSINGsilence calls the "Pupae Costume".

The Pupae Costume morphs as we use it. It consists of a round rolling platform which we sometimes don't use depending on how distracting we think it might be. We would rather have people notice the effect of a costume rather than the actual structure.

This costume was made specifically for Abby. It started out with a rib cage puppet made of wire, fabric and bamboo that I made and never used. I decided that it would look better as a costume element and I showed it to Terrance. We decided that it could be worked into a costume that we were making for Abby.

She has a pupae character that we have creep from the darkness as it appears to violently puke gut-like material into the middle of the performance area.

She kneels on the rolling platform and the ribcage is tied to her back so the ribs curl upwards from her neck to the base of her spine. Around her waist is a wicker hoop skirt, with tattered fabric, feathers and snakeskin. Over this is a old white victorian slip, and under all this is a thick belt stuffed with cotton batting, string and odd bits of fluff -- like dryer lint. In her mouth is a stick and on the ends of the stick are lit red lamps that we made of paper, wire, twine, etc. Her breasts are bare or taped with medical tape depending on the audiences perceived maturity. On her head is a snakeskin and white silk wig that's long enough to hang to her hips. Lord, what else is she wearing? I know that can't be all. Oh, one of the really great things about this costume is the crutches. Terrance thought it was too normal to have her pull herself along with her hands so he designed these cool crutches. They're made of branches about 8" long, and we have this hair and yarn fetish so we glued bits of it to them. While wearing all this stuff, kneeling on a 4" platform and sort of laying on her thighs, Abby must "walk" with these crutches to pull herself along. It's agonizing to watch.

Abby has an incredible face. For the choreography, in her mind, her abdominal area is the bug mouth and she reaches into her mouth with her "arms" which are really insect mandible. Contrary to the order of the events, she's not really puking -- it's a film in reverse, she's actually eating and her entering the room, puking and leaving is really her entering the room backwards, eating and leaving. When the audience first sees her it's at the end of a chain of events and when they last see her it's the beginning. In her mind she's already been in the room, she's just remembering it as she's dancing.

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