Leigh Witchel

Question on Filling Station?

11 posts in this topic

I haven't found anyhting on this in Rep in Review; I'm wondering if rg, atm or anyone can help with this question.

In the current revival of Filling Station at SFB, Mac wears a white unitard under his uniform. Do you know or recall if that was always the case – the Platt Lynes photos have Mac without, but that could be just staged for the photo. There is a tape of Filling Station at the NYPL that was recently shown at the Kirstein exhibit, but I can't recall how d'Amboise wore the costume.

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a white unitard? i saw it at sfb in the mid 80s and don't remember one but I don't go any further back than that.

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It seemed like it was a white unitard that James Sofranko was wearing. It's not meant to be conspicuous, but it is meant to cover. Paul Cadmus' costume is of translucent nylon; the photos Platt Lynes took of Christensen have Christensen's nipples very clearly visible.

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There is a tape of Filling Station at the NYPL that was recently shown at the Kirstein exhibit, but I can't recall how d'Amboise wore the costume.

I assume that's the same 1954 performance available on the Vai DVD. The film there is so grainy that's it's a little hard to tell, but it looks like his uniform is too thick to be translucent. I certainly can't see nipples.

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The studio lighting and primitive videography certainly make d'Amboise's costume look opaque. On the other hand, the booklet that accompanies the dvd includes a still photo which clearly shows the original transluscent costume.

I found a photo of Christensen here (scroll down) -- http://veenet.value.net/~cchris/bio.html -- which does not, alas, resolve the question. You can see the outline of the legs through the material, but there's no way to tell whether they are bare or not.

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The studio lighting and primitive videography certainly make d'Amboise's costume look opaque. On the other hand, the booklet that accompanies the dvd includes a still photo which clearly shows the original transluscent costume.

For what it's worth, there is another Lynes studio shot, published in a NYCB program, where d'Amboise wears the translucent costume without a unitard.

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Most publicity photos (certainly those by GPLynes) of d'amboise show him barchested and barelegged under these 'transparent' coveralls.

the recent exhibit of stage designs called 'Stagestruck' in NYC's Soho gallery area included one of, apparently six, photos GPLynes took of d'amboise completely nude under the costume, but that was obviously a photo session decision.

the fact that all the other photos i've seen of d'amboise from the nycb run of the ballet show him barechested would lead one to believe that he performed the work that way too.

i suspect the non-bare-look now on stage at SFB is a conscious and fairly recent 'choice' that was not part of previous stagings, and not necessarily part of the ones w/ BALLET CARAVAN nor w/ NYCB.

meanwhile i have a contact sheet (by Fred'k. Melton) in my photo collection of 12 shots of d'amboise as Mac, thus they are 35 mm. size and somewhat small, but i THINK for this session d'amboise is wearing a unitard underneath his clearly transparent coveralls.

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The white-unitard looks seems to have been around at SFB since at least 1978, when the following photo was taken of Dennis Marshall as Mac

http://veenet.value.net/~cchris/FillingStation.html

Not sure why -- but Lew Christensen was alive in 1978 and co-directing SFB with Michael Smuin. (He suffered failing health for some years anddied in 1984). THe costume is constructed by "Grace."

I think it's very UN-Cadmusy without the suggestiveness of the hunk in cellophane.

The set looks fabulous.

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The 1954 costume was made from what I think was probably war surplus "parachute silk" (nylon) which is nearly transparent when lit from the back, but when lit from the front is opaque. There was a practical reason for that. You didn't want airborne troops landing on one another's canopies while in fall, but you wanted to make a more confusing silhouette for riflemen on the ground to keep them from picking off your troops in the air. It also sews very well, making tight, fray-resistant seams, for obvious reasons. I wonder if the lighting of the ballet made use of the translucency, suggesting Mac was in a super-hero "shape suit"?

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looks like SFB isn't the first to 'dress' Mac with a unitard? beneath his coveralls.

this 1950s photo of d'Amboise undoubtedly comes from the NYCB run of the ballet where he likely wore what he did on stage. so either the bare look in the photos by GPLynes was the photographer's photo-session idea or eventually the costume acquired another 'coverall' under the coveralls.

post-848-1202487814_thumb.jpg

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