Before I got to know a few things about her, there was one thing I could say with certainty about Elizabeth E. Schuch: she breathes theatre. The person behind Immortal Longings is already an award-winning designer, as her artwork has been featured at Shakespeare's Globe Shop, the Royal National Theatre, the Chicago Shakespeare and Shakespeare festivals in US/Canada, with her new Opera Series currently on sale at the Metropolitan Opera in NYC. March 27 is World Theatre Day and I asked her to do an interview with me, because I am a huge fan of her work. I am grateful and happy for all the enthusiasm that she met this idea with, and I just like to say that I absolutely enjoyed it!
Shakespeare Journal Ophelia
How did you come up with the name Immortal Longings?
It comes from Shakespeare's 'Antony & Cleopatra. In her final scene, Cleopatra says "Give me my robe, put on my crown; I have Immortal longings in me."
Antony and Cleopatra Print
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Art books, architecture, interesting door handles, wrought iron...the usual things. My parents owned a garden center, and as kids we spent a lot of time staring at plants and flowers. That's got to have had an effect. Going to museums and graphic novel shops to look at the artwork of far better artists than me is always very fun. For the Shakespeare series, scenes and great quotes usually kick off the inspiration. Or the idea of a character. For drawing 'A Winter's Tale', the idea of a lovely Queen Hermione gazing out into the snow captured the mood of her fate, rather that a specific scene in the play. In making 'As You Like It', I loved the scene where Orlando hangs poems on trees, as it's very visual.
Winters Tale Print
What are your influences?
Artistic influences: Mucha, Horta and the Art Nouveau movement; Aubrey Beardsley, Erte, Edward Gorey; Piranesi, Rackham, Pre-Raphealites, Magritte, Munch; children's books, old posters, Gilliam & Hitchcock movies.
5 Shakespeare Postcards
Name your favourite Opera character and your favourite Shakespearean character.
Violetta is a favorite Opera heroine of mine. There's a print of Zeffirelli's 'La Traviata' in my studio that I've adored and dragged with me for 10 years now. Although I really should say Hamlet- it's Dogberry from 'Much Ado About Nothing' that's got the best lines for me: "Be Vigitant."
Do you have a favorite character from an ancient Greek play? Could we hope for a Greek series in the future?
Funny you ask...I actually have had in mind a series of the Greek Muses for some time now. From the general mythology, I have an affection for Orpheus, Psyche, Daphne, and Echo. In strict drama, you can't go wrong with a force of nature like Medea. I'm learning Greek at the moment, and here in the studio we're preparing to shoot a feature early next year in Greece. (That'll be a modern, haunted house story, and I'll be the production designer.)
The Players Print
Apart from creating visuals and drawings, what do you do in your free time?
Here in London, I've picked up some of my old performing habits- I love to sing, and I train in dance/circus skills (aerial hoop, trapeze, and pole.) Circus is great, apart from the bruising and falling off things from upside down. Travel and reading are always necessary for relaxing and for getting inspired. Just started learning piano as well, and it's a surprisingly enjoyable and very calming thing.
Shakespeare Quote Print- Eternal Summer Sonnet
Thank you Elizabeth!