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  • Writer's pictureSam Baldwin

Costuming the Event

Costumes can make or break a show. Whether it's the grand outfits of The Lion King or the simple, understated realism of A Streetcar Named Desire, costumes have the power to set the creative tone for a theatre piece, and will often last in an audience's heads long after the show.

Iphigenia 3.0 is a unique show with a unique approach, so how do we begin to think about costumes? My thoughts were drawn to the spa setting, and I realized I wanted costumes that reflected that aesthetic. Smooth, clean, pale colors, pastels, and a sense of nature. I began to imagine characters dressed in simple, clean costumes, without a lot of layering or rough textures. Fabrics such as linen and cotton would work well, especially given our summer-time setting for this show. Colors such as white, violet, sea foam, and pink will give the show a splash of color without being over-the-top or distracting.

Pops of pastel colors will solidify a visual feel while also strengthening the memorability of the characters on stage. Simple costume pieces such as t-shirts, bath robes, and shorts will create an atmosphere that is semi-casual but still well-manicured, reflecting well the seemingly-harmless spa we encounter at the opening. Using these clean simple colors also allows us to play with the destruction of this cleanliness. As characters interact, fight, fall, and explore the world of the play they can become increasingly dirty, slowly eroding the clean, almost clinical feel of the original costumes. This would highlight changes in the atmosphere of the show as well as changes in the characters themselves.

Props are also important, and should blend in well with the costumes while still standing out as their own objects. Props such as the masks worn during the opening killing scene as well as the giant phallus of Pylades are unique and certainly deserve their own considerations in terms of color, texture and feel. The question I propose in thinking about costumes is this: How important is cleanliness in the world of this play? How does it impact the look, feel, and colors of this world? Do costumes define this feel, or do they support it?

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