Job: Costume, Hair and Makeup Design
Directed by: Kirk Everist, Beardsley Theatre 2013
Reflection on the project-
I was approached to design for this before auditions started, and the director voiced that he wanted to bring Moliere into the 21st century. He explained that they were going to try applying societies dependency on social media and technology to the classic themes in Moliere’s work, and wanted a costume design to match it.
All of the characters, including the misanthrope Alceste, are incredibly vain. They use their clothes as a means to project an image that they think society wants to see, but to an extreme. Normal modern day clothes wouldn’t do, these characters needed to be a part of a culture. I immediately thought of hipsters. Within the general term “hipster” is a plethora of styles, all with one goal- to show who you are in a unique and slightly off beat way. Of course, once more and more people took on that style, it became less unique, but that’s the beauty of it. All of the characters would have a unity about them, but be completely different. In order for this to work, I had to work with every character to find their own sense of style.
I knew I couldn’t understand the characters as well as the actors could, so from the beginning of rehearsals I started working with them. Each actor loved coming in after rehearsal to talk to me about a new discovery they made that day, and how it might translate into their look. It became clear that their costumes were more important to their character development than you would usually find in other productions. Then, to add even more fun to the mix, we added tattoos. Multiple actors worked with my assistant to design tattoos based on their characters, and we applied them every night. By the end of the run, we had over 20 costumes for the 11 person cast, many of which belonged to Celimene, who we decided could never been seen wearing the exact same thing twice. It was an incredibly fun experience, full of collaboration, laughter, and red lipstick.