Designer: Yann Legendre
Client: The Steppenwolf Theater
Size: 24 x 36 inches
Number of Inks: Two
Yann Legendre has been one of my favorite poster designers for quite some time, not only for his immense talent and signature style, but for his continued advocacy for the form. The man clearly lives and breathes posters 24/7, and has obviously had a long term love affair with these beauties.
I never cease to be amazed by how much of his wit is available in just a few simple lines and shapes. He continues to be the master of the subtle change, elevating his imagery to a heavenly level. It was with great excitement that I seeped myself into his new series for The Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago. Pouring over every little nuance, knowing nothing is left to chance, with every flash of whimsy portrayed in an astute and deliberate matter. The incredible part is that Yann always allows for the enjoyment of the decision, never heavy handed, and always smart and sharp.
Looking at his sketches for a poster for Harold Pinter's "The Birthday Party," I can trace the evolution until he makes the defining move to cross the feet of the figure, telling you everything about the character, and the play about to take place. Legendre smiles, describing the play as a "comedy of menace," as he alludes to such matters via the broken glasses.
"The play is about Stanley Webber, an erstwhile piano player in his 30s, who lives in a rundown boarding house in an English seaside town," Legendre explains. As the play unfolds, including the arrival of two strangers that seem to have come for Stanley, and then the commencement of the party itself, a nightmarish scenario plays out, punctuated by a vague sense of time, and many hallmarks of the "theater of the absurd." As the evening unfolds, the introduction of the toy drum plays an imprtant part, and Legendre leaves it prominent in his illustration, yet fully integrated into the greater struggle taking place. It's pretty brilliant. Much like the designer himself.
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