Found a video about the staging of Go_A’s performance with bts footage, and translated bits of it. you’d think I’d be over Eurovision by now, but you’d think wrong.
Long post is long, press J to skip.
The men behind the stage performance are Oleksandr Bratkovskyi and Kostiantyn Tomilchenko, who’s also responsible for staging Greenjolly’s “Razom Nas Bahato” in 2005 (aka a valiant attempt to make a very non-Eurovisiony song cohere at least slightly to the Eurovision aesthetic), Melovin’s “Under the Ladder” in 2018 (aka “sir, I understand that you are happy to have risen from your coffin, but your piano is on fire”), and Jamala’s striking “1944″ in 2016.
"What is the main idea of the performance? Will there be any differences between the performance in the backup video and their actual performance in Rotterdam?"
Bratkovskyi: The idea is awaking, interpret it as you will. The awakening of spring. We wake up to see the new world and the new colors. That's the gist of it. In our world, the world we are in now, one wants to wake up and see new faces. To wake up and meet new people. To wake up and see the new world. That's the idea. We have a folk song about the coming of spring, so it already has this idea of reaching out to people to tell them that spring is coming, the new world is here.
Tomilchenko: Our backup video won't differ all that much from the performance. The basic idea and the choreography will stay the same, but there might be changes in the visual effects and the graphics.
"Ukraine was usually represented by solo singers, which left a lot of room in terms of performance. This year, we have a band, but you will still include dancers. How did you manage to bring it together?"
Bratkovskyi: 6 people can be on the stage, and the band only has 4, so we didn't hesitate a moment before adding two dancers. What mattered though were not the numbers but the concept. And, according to our concept, we needed people to perform a ritual. So we found two people who helped us with it.
Tomilchenko: As to the differences, we'd love to make the set bigger. We wanted the camera to be inside the set, but we couldn't do that because of restrictions. It would go right over the weight restriction.
The band’s costumes were created by Dmytro Kuriata (who also dressed Go_A during the national selection in 2020, where he helped up-and-coming artists who didn't have their own costumes yet).
"You say that you help young artists. Are they open to cooperation? Because some young artists don't understand the rules and reject all advice."
Kuriata: I don't think it depends on the artist's experience. Some artists are mature enough to trust you, and some are- it's just human factor. Go_A, Katia and the guys were very easy to work with because they really did trust me. That inspires you and makes you work even harder to surprise them. I worked with all sorts of people, and when you work under tight control and have to argue about every single detail, you feel like a pawn. Of course, you want to be a co-author and do everything you can to help.
"What inspired this year's costumes? Was it the concept, the song itself? What is your process?"
Of course, the song was my source of inspiration. I had the first version of it stuck in my head, I liked their energy. Listening to it, I already had visual associations, not necessarily of the final costumes though. After we decided to work together, we sat down with the directors Tomilchenko and Bratkovskyi and Go_A. Having worked out what we wanted to see in the performance, I prepared the first sketches. They seemed to fit the idea, but I had my doubts. The directors have their own idea, the artists have their own idea, I have my own idea, and we have to bring it all together. We developed a new idea for costumes almost from scratch.
"Go_A plays electrofolk. We got a lot of questions from fans asking if they'd see anything 100% Ukrainian on the stage. I know that Polish folk singers performed in their folk costumes at Eurovision. Go_A's been working with you for two years now, and I see that you took a completely different direction. Didn't you want to add a folk element? I do see a green coat though. Is it an allusion to their song?"
Kuriata: Of course, I couldn't miss this striking visual image of a torn green coat. The lyrics of the song were changed, the green coat is no longer even there, but we'll have it on stage. Katia's costumes, both last year's and the current one, have a folk element, but I made sure that they didn't look like a mere copy of the traditional costume. If you don't even notice it at first glance, than it's the best compliment for me. Last year, we used a traditional silhouette, but it wasn't a copy of authentic costumes. Katia also had a wreath on her head. It might have been made of metal, but it was there. It was a very subtle allusion to folk themes.
Her coat this year is an allusion to a traditional Carpathian fur coat known as hunia, a very shaggy sort of coat. It's usually white, but we've changed that. We've been very subtle in the way we worked with traditional costumes to make sure that they wouldn't be in your face. The more subtext and layers you add - and it can be subtle, you don't need to spell it all out - the deeper and the more striking the image you get. If the public notices it, I'm happy. If not, I'm equally happy to hear that Katia looked very modern, futurist, cosmic, even though we've used the lines and silhouettes of a traditional costume.
Kateryna’s costume in the backup video vs a more traditional take on a folk silhouette:
"How long did it take to create these costumes?"
Leaving aside the sketching stage, it took us a week. Let me note that the last 4 days were during strict lockdown, so that was fun. All the stores were closed, we couldn't find a thing, but we managed.
"What was the hardest to find?"
We'll have this element by a Ukrainian designer who works with metal. Her name is Olena Romanova, and we also worked with her last year.
It's not that it's heavy, but it limits Katia's range of movements. It looks better on her than it does on a coat hanger. It makes her image bolder, and once she put it on, it all fell into place. The road from the first sketches to the final image has been long. What looked good as a sketch didn't necessarily look as good in real life, so we've been working on it, and I'm grateful that we have people like Olena who work with metal, creating their unique objects, so we could use that. As to the boys, I won't lie, I was inspired by their first video [with hazmat suits], but there's a big difference because these are designer items.
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Durandal doesn't really add much. I'd cut him to give other characters more of a chance to breathe. In addition to doing annoying stuff with Reika's character, there's barely any time to establish who he is (Heck, I grasp Bacht/Bahato better than Durandal as a character)
i don't even think you'd have to cut him, just utilize him differently. giving reika a brother COULD have been a good way to dig a little deeper into her character
the way i've been thinking about it would be to introduce her first as the cold and conniving traitor sowing seeds of doubt among the swordsmen, and you're thinking holy shit, she must have a lot of power to be pulling this off. then after we know she's a badass and a girlboss, bring in durandal and she completely changes, being scared of him and following his commands no matter what. that way, we start to sympathize with her and it gives durandal the role of the guy so tough that the other tough characters fear him. after a few episodes of that, have reika connect with somebody from the northern base (mei? rintaro?), and slowly realize she doesn't have to be shackled by her brother's orders, stands up to him, kicks his ass, and joins our heroes
if you wanted to go for a lighter, more comedic route, you could have durandal completely drop his tough guy act and now this dude who used to be such a threat is scared of his little sister and letting her call the shots bc she's stronger than him now, leaving him to be a goofy gag character from then on. if you wanted to keep things serious, just kill his ass off and be done with it. maybe mei takes up the mantle of durandal, the juxtaposition of her vs ry*ga as riders could be pretty funny, and then she'd be another water-themed rider to match with her boyfriend
all of this would've been so easy to do, the pieces are all there and we saw reika having doubts of her own before durandal overrode her character arc, but we decided to appeal to the lowest common denominator instead :/
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