Inspired: Fifty Days at Iliam

Top: Canaday E roomates + friend from class Bottom middle: me and Hannah on my visit in 2009 Bottom left/right: Post-it wall art in our common area based on one of our collective favorite YouTube videos.

In 2008, I went to Harvard Summer School and met the loveliest group of young women. To this day, I keep in touch with most of them (thank you, Facebook, Instagram) and sometimes I’m even fortunate enough to see them. Last night was once such occasion.

Hannah Van Sciver, one of these lovely ladies, is an artist through and through. While I have been a fan and followed her endeavors in the past, I had never had the opportunity to see any of her productions or see her perform, which is really a tragedy being that they’ve been in Philadelphia and I live in New Jersey. I vowed to change that this year, so I wrangled in a friend to go with me, bought my tickets and was set to go! Almost.

I knew I wanted to do my nails in honor of this production, so I had to do a little research: Hannah conceived and produced Fifty Days at Iliam for the Philadelphia Fringe Arts Festival. The show is based on the life and work of Cy Twombly. Cy Twombly’s exhibit, Fifty Days of Iliam, is based on Homer’s Iliad and is located at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where she found her inspiration. And so, I found mine:


I really loved this photo that they posted on the Fifty Days of Iliam Facebook page. The canvas itself is beautiful and simple. The colors, to me, represent the idea of the Trojan War very well. I love that they chose to sit in front of each cloud with colors that match the cloud they are under – three different people, three different personalities, three different perceptions – because it makes the canvas pop and it demonstrates the multitude interpretations in art or war or anything really.

Program and Palm Card from the show

So, pulling inspiration from that photo, I painted my nails in My Life’s Porpoise by KBShimmer and stamped hehe026 (Harry Potter stamping plate, Gryffindor) from Jolie Polish with Brick Red Cushion Flower and Blue Lagoon stamping polish (also from Jolie Polish). The grey/red/blue color scheme I pulled directly from the photo. The stamping pattern is representative of the opulence of kings and queens and gods and goddesses and then the chaos when they war, compete, and overlap.


With my nails done and a little bit more knowledge about Fifty Days at Iliam, I was ready to go. Much like my nails, I loved the show. The theater space was unique and put everyone in the front row. The lighting and stage of canvas was the perfect backdrop for the show. I enjoyed the musical aspects, I laughed, and I was captivated the entire time.

If you live in the general Philadelphia area, I highly recommend you check out Fifty Days at Iliam – shows this evening are at 7:00 pm and 9:30 pm. They are sold out, but there will be standing room available. Check out the details on the Fifty Days at Iliam Event Page (Facebook).

If you can’t make it on such short notice, go check out their page for pictures and read some great reviews about the show here and here. Hannah Van Sciver is definitely someone in the arts world we should all keep our eyes on. I’m so happy to call her my friend and look forward her future productions, and to getting more nail-spiration from her.


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