The Santa Monica College Emeritus Art Gallery will present an exhibition of rare costume and stage designs created by Katya Kompaneyets with Georgian artist and political satirist Tengiz Mirzashvili for legendary Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky’s theatrical production of Hamlet.
The exhibition will run Sept. 17 – Nov. 4 at the gallery, located on the first floor of Emeritus College, 1227 Second St., in downtown Santa Monica.
The opening reception is from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 17. Gallery hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The exhibit and reception are free. For information, please call (310) 434-4306.
Hamlet was the only theatrical play produced by Tarkovsky, a brilliant filmmaker considered a political dissident. Performances by the Theater of Leninsky Komsomol opened in spring 1977. Shortly after, they were banned.
The costumes were not designed to be historically accurate. According to Kompaneyets, they were based on familiar figures – including politicians and actors – and on favorite paintings. “Hamlet’s costume design and hat were based on a Hans Holbein portrait,” she said, noting that costumes for undertakers reflected works by Hieronymus Bosch. “The ringed armor for the ghost of father-king I made myself, weaving it from ropes. The armor had a very ghostly look. We also worked on a color scheme, always thinking of how costumes will look together on a stage. We wanted a stage to look like a painting.”
Most of the sketches for the costume and stage designs – and the actual costumes – have been destroyed, and none of the performances were filmed, so Kompaneyets’ sketches offer a rare glimpse into a moment in history.