Each semester, we have the honor of profiling some of the incredible professional artists involved in the TDM production. Our next artist spotlight this fall shines on Dominique Fawn Hill! Dominique is working as the Costume Designer on the fall TDM production, and the grass grows. Check out more of Dominique's work at www.dominiquefhill.com.
What inspires you as an artist and creative?
It’s the everyday nuances of humans. How they put their jacket on. Why they put their jacket on. The story that they’re trying to tell, the story they’re trying to hide, the story that they’re trying to evoke - all of those minute details allow my brain to process this narrative for them even if there is no script.
But if there is a script, it’s a pretty magical experience of going beyond what’s written on the page and saying “Before the day got started, what were they thinking about? What family heirloom is precious to them? What are their pet peeves? What are some of their aspirations?”
It allows me to create this digital index for their journey and the arc of their character.
What inspires me is the actual people. They inform you of all you need to know. They are the original canvases for the story and I just build off of there.
What excites you about this original TDM production?
I would have to say the team, the resources, and the mission.
I worked with Mei Ann and Troy in New York on a show called The Dark Girl Chronicles: Chronicle X at the Shed. It was the most bizarre creative experience that I’ve ever encountered, because it was birthed out of instinct. A lot of times, when you get a production you get it months in advance and you have time to prep. This one was a living document, and it was always changing in real time. So I had to just go off of my own ideas and say “okay, this is the right decision, I’m making it, and this is how it’s going to be.” It was a pretty magical experience.
So what attracted me first to this production was the team - what they were doing, and how Harvard was supporting them in this endeavor by allowing them to have this creative space and support so they’re not always worrying about the practicalities. It reminded me of when I was in graduate school, and how I was supported. I had that time as a creative oasis to just focus on the creation and not anything else.
What has it been like collaborating with the students on this project?
It’s been a pretty lovely experience working with the students. A lot of times as a designer you’re in the background doing the work. You see it on stage or you see it on film and that’s it. But in this process, because it’s so immersive with the integration of body, I was able to participate in some of the rehearsals, which is a new thing for me.
It was the students, along with Mei Ann and Troy, who welcomed me with open arms. I’m not a performer at all, but it was okay because we were creating a thing together. Having that safe space was a very beautiful experience.
When we were having fittings, getting their feedback and having them follow my train of thought, which can be pretty non-linear stream-of-consciousness, was also really endearing. We found a common language amongst each other. I grew from it, and they had a better understanding of where I was going with their character.
What projects are you working on next?
I am working currently on a play called An Untitled Play by Justin Timberlake at City Theatre. After that, I will be working in New York at Playwrights Horizons on a show called Tambo & Bones. After that, a show called White Noise by Susan Lori Parks at Studio Theatre in DC. And then it’ll be Rent at Portland Center Stage and Fat Hand at the Public.