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Costuming the Character: From Research to Production

  • Author(s): Sutton, Amy Rebecca
  • Advisor(s): Dolan, Judith A.
  • et al.

The costume design process is extensive, beginning with design discussions and ending on opening night. While the steps toward the final design remain consistent for each show, I find that the design process is unique with each new script, production team, and cast.

The Santa Barbarians evolved from research collaged from magazines to a world of realism, in which each of the principal males characters' unique personalities were expressed through the variations in style.

In Elizabeth I, I interpreted Elizabethan costume through a modern eye, working with the team & cast to create a whimsical world of "DIY" costumes. A particular challenge in this show was transformation of actors for multiple roles, in fast & effective ways.

For Drums in the Night, the director and design team worked to create a hyper-realistic world seen through the eye of an escaped POW. I worked closely with the actors to tell a detailed story. Every article of clothing, from an old Army t-shirt to an orange pocket square, was selected with purpose and meaning within the world, to create a very specific characterization.

She Stoops to Conquer presented the challenge of working with a professional director and creating the enticing world of a period comedy. We chose to set the show in the Georgian & Regency periods, which allowed me to define characters' personality, like age & status, to the audience through style choices. It involved detailed research and careful selection of costume pieces, in order to portray the period correctly.

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