Julie Taymor: Playing with Fire showcases the career of the extraordinary multidisciplinary artist whose fertile imagination and genius for storytelling in theater and opera productions and on film have drawn acclaim from audiences and critics worldwide. Taymor’s first major retrospective has its only East Coast venue at NMWA from November 16, 2000, to February 4, 2001.
As a designer of costumes, sets, masks, and puppets, and a director of theater, opera, and film, Taymor combines and adapts performance techniques from Asia and other cultures to convey her exceptional vision. The multimedia exhibition, organized by The Wexner Center for the Arts, features scene recreations, puppets, masks, costumes, video clips, set designs, special effects, theatrical lighting, preparatory drawings, and music. It offers an up-close look at the evolution of Taymor’s artistry.
“Julie Taymor’s work appeals to people of all ages. This is a wonderful exhibition, offering many avenues for cultural education, and General Dynamics is proud to sponsor it in the Washington area,” said Nicholas D. Chabraja, the company’s chairman and CEO. Taymor, who achieved fame in 1998 as director, co-composer, costume designer, and co-designer of masks and puppets of Disney’s The Lion King on Broadway, was the first woman to win a Tony award for direction of a musical.
During her 25-year career, Taymor has produced a host of highly admired works, most of them infused with her signature mix of actors, masks, puppets, and spectacular scenic images. For Taymor, there is always meaning in the medium and in the process of creating: forming characters through drawing and sculpting; designing and creating costumes, masks, scenic elements, and special effects; and directing performers and working with collaborators.