By Cristal Steuer
On Saturday, Oct. 22, the Worcester Art Museum (WAM) hosted “Tableaux Vivants” (“Art coming to life”), a lively affair that had Holy Cross theatre students dressed up in costume and makeup as characters from the treasures in the museum’s permanent collection, including Frank Benson’s “Portrait of My Daughters,” El Greco’s “The Repentant Magdalen,” and “Mrs. Elizabeth Freake and Baby Mary.” These tableaux vivants came to life before guests’ eyes, sharing knowledge about the works of art that they portrayed.
Holy Cross costume designer Kurt Hultgren and his staff created all the costumes for the festive party, which celebrated James Welu, WAM’s director, who had just stepped down after 25 years of service to the Worcester arts community.
“The event was a wonderful opportunity for more than a couple of dozen Holy Cross students who worked on this project in various capacities, as well as modeling,” says Hultgren. “It was a great collaboration between two Worcester cultural and educational institutions.”
Annie Le, ‘13, who modeled the work of Itō Jakuchu, a Japanese painter, shares that it was exciting to hear people’s reactions when she told them she made and painted her kimono costume. She says that she was ready to answer any and all types of questions about her character. “One can never be over-prepared when in character,” she says.
Shannon LoCascio, ’14, who portrayed the eldest Benson daughter from “Portrait of my Daughters” by Frank Benson, said the night flew by: “Catherine and Abby ~ who played my sisters ~ and I kept in character as the Benson daughters, and many people stayed to listen to us talk to each other as the sisters,” she explains. “People seemed positively euphoric about the event.”
Katy Hannigan, ’12, who wore one of the most elegant costumes of the evening, a gown made of white satin accompanied by long strands of pearls, acted as Lady Warwick from “Lady Warwick and Her Son” by John Singer Sargent. She says every time she sees the oil painting, she will not only be reminded of the evening, but the whole artistic process.
Photo (top): Portrait of my Daughters modeled by Catherine Mikula ‘14, Abigail McDermott and Shannon LoCascio ‘14.
Photo: (bottom) Annie Le ‘13 models her kimono of black satin with hand-painted motifs taken from the series of seven inks on paper prints in the collection by Itō Jakuchū.
Photos by Norm Eggert.
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