October 8, 2013

Five Questions for New Faculty Member Suttirat Larlarb

Filed under Faculty

by Wei He (MFA 2015), photo by Louis Stein

Suttirat Larlarb has joined the School of Drama as Associate Professor in Costume Design. She has been a frequent collaborator with director Danny Boyle on a range of projects for film and theatre including the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony (for which she won an Emmy Award), the Oscar –winning film SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE (for which she won the Costume Designers’ Guild Award for Excellence in Contemporary Film in 2009), 127 HOURS as both Production Designer (2010 Art Directors Guild Nominee) and Costume Designer, as well as the costume design for TRANCE. Other Costume Design credits for film  Shari Springer-Berman & Bob Pulcini’s films THE EXTRA MAN and CINEMA VERITE for which she received her first of two Emmy nominations.

1) Tell us something that wouldn't normally be on your resume or bio?

I worked in Italy a few years ago, in a series of small towns with a predominantly all-Italian team, and in a matter of weeks I was speaking Italian. I had only taken one semester of Italian about 15 years prior, so I’d say that was the best by-product of a job ever!

2) In your opinion, what is the most fascinating aspect of your area of expertise?

There are some tremendous rewards from getting to design in different countries. Not just for the travel experience, but to really immerse myself in a different culture and different system of production within that culture. Sometimes I have to throw out my pre-conceived notions, my best laid plans and trusted processes, in order to get the best result. Every project is completely new and different in that regard. You can never really rest on your laurels.

3) What advice would you give to a student enrolled in your classes?

I’d like to think that everything we do/learn in the courses will feed your work as a designer. If the relevance of a particular project isn’t clear, feel free to ask me how seemingly irrelevant things I absorbed in school actually came in useful in my professional work over the past 2 decades!

4) Could you name the top three of your favorite playwrights?

I don’t know if this is a definitive ‘top 3’ list as much as it is a ‘3 of my favorites’ list . I have a penchant for stories about outcasts, oppressed people, the marginalized - their endurance within their worlds, their success or failure in rebelling. Caryl Churchill – Cloud Nine is one of my favorite plays. Jean Genet, Athol Fugard. And I love Catherine Filloux’s plays, so that’s 4 of my favorites.

5) What is your favorite food to be bribed with?

Cheese. The stinkier, the better.