2014-2015 Season,  Fisherman and His Wife

Costuming the Characters on Both Land and Sea

by Haley Flanders, dramaturg

Hello there!

In production meetings for Fisherman and His Wife, much of the conversation revolves around costumes. After all, this story has a flounder and a seahorse in it, along with a greedy wife who never seems to have enough clothes! One of the most entertaining and impressive elements of this highly stylized production is the way in which the actors move to accommodate and interact with the many elements to their outward ensemble, especially the masks and headpieces! I will take pictures of these elaborately decorative costume pieces and post them in the future. But for now, here’s a look at the original costume renderings for each character, followed by a brief description and quotes from the two talented costume designers on the challenging and fun aspects of this design process. Enjoy!

NOTE: The Fisherman, Isabel, and Storyteller costumes were designed by Shannon McCurdy (student), while the Flounder, Seahorse, and Koken costumes were designed by Donnette Perkins (faculty).

He is the main character of the story. He likes leading a simple life and his clothes reflect that. Yet he does get a pretty cool cape toward the end of the story, which helps with the depiction of the thunderstorm surrounding him.

He is the main character of the story. He likes leading a simple life and his clothes reflect that. Yet he does get a pretty cool cape toward the end of the story, which helps with the depiction of the thunderstorm surrounding him.

This is Isabel, the Fisherman’s wife. Her outfit is quite plain and simple at the beginning.

“The most difficult part of the design process was finding the right pieces for Isabel’s empress costume. Since, instead of changing costumes, she just adds more clothing, I had to make sure that her costume was never too hot or heavy to move in. For her last costume change she puts on platform shoes and a cape, so that she seems bigger without having to put on another dress.” -Shannon McCurdy

As the narrator of this aquatic tale, the storyteller is dressed to resemble a sea captain, guiding us through the many travels to and from the seashore. As the narrator of this aquatic tale, the storyteller is dressed to resemble a sea captain, guiding us through the many travels to and from the seashore.

“The challenge of the Flounder costume actually made it the most fun costume to design. I had to use a lot of imagination. I got to create a fish headpiece that actually could move and to use new materials like a special thermoplastic call “Wonderflex” and foam and paints and sequins. I thought that tie-dyed fabric looked a little like the water with flecks of sunlight on it, so I tie-dyed his shirt and pants. Also, a flounder has spots like the blotches of color in tie-dye. I hope you like our Flounder.” -Donnette Perkins

This is the Flounder's assistant. Her costume was designed to reflect the colorful scales of fish found in the coral reef. She will also have a cute backpack!This is the Flounder’s assistant. Her costume was designed to reflect the colorful scales of fish found in the coral reef. She will also have a cute backpack!

The two koken characters were added to our show to assist with transitions, add more stage visuals, and to guide the audience participation. These characters originated from the ancient Japanese forms of drama called Kabuki and Noh. Koken traditionally dress in black to suggest that they are neutral and invisible. Our koken are dressed in dark blue to match the color of the sea.

The two koken characters were added to our show to assist with transitions, add more stage visuals, and to guide the audience participation. These characters originated from the ancient Japanese forms of drama called Kabuki and Noh. Koken traditionally dress in black to suggest that they are neutral and invisible. Our koken are dressed in dark blue to match the color of the sea.

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