What: Doubt, at Pacific Theatre March 2 to 31
Poster designer: Emily Cooper
A longtime photographer, Emily Cooper discovered the joys of turning men into women, squishing people’s faces and awkwardly elongating limbs through photo illustration. In only her first year creating artwork for Pacific Theatre, Cooper’s creations are some of the more distinct and evocative posters dotting the city. The surreal collages often combine text, cutout figures and animal heads. “Using animals was a fun way to add another layer to each character's personality,” Cooper says. “Scrooge as a squabbling, ugly turkey. The dying, wise Morrie as a wrinkly elephant. Danny, the aggressive muscle head as a pit bull. Animals have their own stereotypes and I used them to tell more of the story.”
For the upcoming production of John Patrick Shanely’s Doubt, Cooper decided to use an owl and a vulture to depict the warring characters of Father Flynn and Sister Aloysius, while a red-tailed hawk represents Sister James. “They are both fierce animals and I felt they were well matched,” Cooper says. “The scratchy, black and white style of the drawings also reinforce their battling relationship and drain it of colour. Sister James, however, has youthful hints of red, and is fleeing the page to avoid the conflict.”
Cooper has a library of scanned and photographed images, which she uses for her posters, taking bits and pieces of images to create an illustration. “In one poster there could be anywhere from five to 50 layers depending on how complicated the idea is. I like taking different mediums and mashing them together to see what comes out. They are all cut out and pasted together within Photoshop to have maximum control over each element.”
While she says she had a “hoot” putting the nun and the owl together and making the priest “charmingly awkward,” Cooper confesses she’s never been too fond of having her own feathery friends.
“I haven't [had a pet bird], but my friends did and that was enough for me. The flying, flapping, pooping, and squawking wasn't too alluring. I had fish instead.”
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