SUF monsters invade London charity event
SUF monsters invade London charity eventMay 30, 2007Daeya Malboeufdmking04@syr.edu
When Syracuse University in Florence (SUF) received a request from London-based garden designer Antonia Salt to borrow a few monsters from the production of the opera “Where the Wild Things Are,” SUF didn’t hesitate. Two monsters were soon winging their way to London, accompanied by staff member Brenda Cooke. Salt used the monsters in her garden exhibit in the 2007 Chelsea RHS Flower Show. The 4×4 foot garden was designed for the sponsor Charities Aid Foundation, a non-profit charitable institution, and was inspired by the beloved children’s book by Maurice Sendak.
SUF produced the opera “Where the Wild Things Are” in 2005, in collaboration with the Teatro Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. The monsters were created for the opera by SUF students enrolled in the costume design class taught by Professor Kathy Knipple. Students also enrolled in the scenography course offered in conjunction with the production, taught by Professor Alex Koziara from SU. The Internship Program provided excellent opportunities for students to actively participate in the world of the Italian opera house, and this collaboration saw the birth of the popular SUF Student Volunteer Program, with SUF students reading (and acting out) the story in English to elementary schoolchildren. The benefit gala performance of the opera netted just over 9,000 euros for the Meyer Children’s Hospital. SUF Director Barbara Deimling noted that she was “very pleased to let the monsters out to play for another good cause.”
At the heart of the garden was a bed planted with sleep-inducing chamomile surrounded by a miniature jungle of large leaved plants. Lovers of the book will remember that Wild Things’ rambunctious Max is sent to bed without supper. He soon falls asleep, only to awaken in a verdant dreamland forested with fun-loving monsters. “I want the display to look like you would need a machete to get through it,” explains Salt. “All of the plants are strong and exuberant, really over-the-top things with big leaves or bright colors that kids love.”
The monster costumes came into play on Monday, May 21, after the final judging of the Chelsea garden exhibitions. As national and international members of the press circulated, Salt’s garden came to life through the antics of Max and two children dressed in the SUF monsters costumes.
Salt’s garden won the coveted silver medal in the small garden category.