by Kasey Kopp, dramaturg
As we move towards opening night, many elements of the production are taking shape and coming together splendidly. One of the fantastic elements of this production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the beautiful costuming that has been done by Deanne DeWitt and her assistant Shannon McCurdy. This week, I had the opportunity to sit down with Deanne for a few minutes and learn about her process in creating and designing the lavish costumes for people and puppets in this production.
Deanne talked to me about her inspiration and research and showed me the progress on the costumes thus far during a mini tour of the costume shop. At the very beginning of her process, Deanne met with the director, Nat Reed, to understand his vision and learn how she could incorporate that into the ideas that she already had. In developing his concept, Nat was strongly influenced by the highly stylized and artistic elements of the 2011 film Hugo. In keeping with this concept, Deanne strove to incorporate elements of this film in her design.
The costumes of the Mechanicals (roles taken on by puppets in this production!) are heavily influenced by the turn of the century clothes worn by the main characters in Hugo. In a similar vein, many of the fairies are inspired by the fantastic costumes worn by the actor’s in the early silent films that are depicted in Hugo.
In addition to the film, Deanne said that she was also heavily influenced by the concept of butterflies and the idea of flight. Many of the characters have elements of flight woven into their costumes! Deanne was also kind enough to share the renderings of the costumes for the principal players. We look forward to seeing the final product on the actors when the show opens in a couple of weeks. Following is some of the renderings for the costumes and Deanne’s commentary on them! Enjoy!
These are costumes for Hippolyta and Theseus, who will be played by children from the audience.
These are the renderings for the puppets! Deanne said this was her first experience designing costumes for puppets! She indicated that many of the costumes were toddler clothes that were purchased and later added to and altered. The influence of the film Hugo is definitely felt in these costumes; many of the characters in the film dress in patterns we see represented here–checks, stripes, argyle, etc.
While still striving to convey that magical and fairy-like quality, Deanne sought to create a masculine look for Oberon. Deanne said she was inspired by the masculine warrior character in the cartoon film Epic. There are many jewels and sequins that add to the fantastical element of the costume and the greens and blues that are found in Titania’s costume are also reflected in Oberon’s.
Puck’s costume is also bedazzled and fantastical, with a cape of black feathers to complete the look.
As previously mentioned, Deanne’s inspiration for this costume came largely from butterflies. Titania’s costume is frilly and fantastical and (fun fact!) created from recycled prom dresses. It mirrors and compliments Oberon’s ensemble with bounteous jewels, sequins and feathers.