COSTUME DESIGN Emma Rice
Costume Designer Job Description Acostume designer is a person who designs costumes for a stage production. Three types of Costume designers: Freelance designer - Freelance designers are hired for a specific production by a theatre, dance or opera company. A freelancer is traditionally paid in three installments: upon hire, on delivery of final renderings, and opening night of the production. Freelancers are not obligated to any exclusivity in what projects they work on, and may design for several productions at the same time. Residential designer - A residential designer is hired by a specific theatre, dance or opera company for an extended series of productions. This can be as short as a summer stock contract, or may be for many years. A residential designer's contract may limit the amounts of freelance work they are allowed to accept. Unlike the freelancer, a residential designer is consistently at the theater—at hand to work with costume studio and other collaborators. The costume designer may also collaborate with hair stylist, wig master, or makeup artist. Academic Designer – An academic designer is one who holds professorship at a school. The designer is primarily an instructor, but may also act as a residential designer to varying degrees. They are often free to freelance, as their schedule allows. In the past, professors of costume design were mostly experienced professionals that may or may not have had formal post-graduate education, but it has now become increasingly common to require a professor to have at least aMasters in Fine Arts in order to teach.
Job Description Continued • Costume designers create the look of each character by designing clothes and accessories the actors will wear in performance. Depending on their style and complexity, costumes may be made, bought, revamped out of existing stock or rented. Their designs need to faithfully reflect the personalities of the characters in the script. • Stage costumes can provide audiences with information about a character's occupation, social status, gender, age, sense of style and tendencies towards conformity or individualism. As well, costumes can: • reinforce the mood and style of the production • distinguish between major and minor characters • suggest relationships between characters • change an actor's appearance • suggest changes in character development and age • just be aesthetically pleasing • The shapes, colors and textures that a costume designer chooses make an immediate and powerful visual statement to the audience. Creative collaboration among the costume designer, the director and the set and lighting designers ensures that the costumes are smoothly integrated into the production as a whole.
Origins of Costume Design • The first theatrical costumes were basically ceremonial robes. In ancient Greece, the himation was a gown-like costume similar to the robes worn by the priests who chanted the choral odes. Costumes in medieval drama were nearly identical to the robes worn by the priests who originated the liturgical texts. • It was a gradual change whereby we started to see costumes used to define a character. In Elizabethan England, costumes were regal and ceremonial but were rarely used to establish character. • In Shakespeare’s time, it was common to see some actors wearing contemporary clothing alongside some who dressed for the period in which the play was set. • In the commedia dell’arte pieces of Renaissance Italy, costumes for recurring characters helped classify gender, occupation, age, education, etc. • Costuming more similar to what we know today came about in the 18th and 19th centuries when other more realistic elements began to dominate the Western theatre
Key Players • Julie Taymor : • Taymor used a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship study pre-Bunraku puppetry onAwaji Island Japan, to learn more about experimental theatre, puppetry and visually oriented theatre. • She is both a director and a costume designer and has won a Tony in both fields of work. • She most well known for the costume work she did for the Broadway musical production of The Lion King. • She has worked as a costume designer on productions such as The Magic Flute, Juan Darien: A Carnival Mass and The Lion King. • Albert Wolsky • A costume designer that has worked on both film and on stage, he has received 2 Academy Awards and has been nominated 5 other times. • Began his career by assisting another designer Ann Roth and his first job as a lead designer was for the production of Generation in 1965. • He has moved on to be lead designer for both plays and musicals including The Sunshine Boys and Sly Fox.
Culture • Masks • The Greek term for mask is persona and was a significant element in the worship of Dionysus at Athens, the mask is known to have been used since the time of Aeschylus and considered to be one of the iconic conventions of classical Greek theatre. • Grecian masks covered the entirety of the actors face with large opening for the mouths and eyes and often times included and integrated wig. • They were used to make the faces of the actors come closer to the audience and the masks usually had over exaggerated features and emotions painted into them. • Costumes • Costumes have been a very important factor of the production, because they could determine the characters by gender or social status. • Actors who played tragic roles wore boots called cothurneses that elevated them above other actors. • There is little information about the specifics of costumes used in productions because of the perishable materials that they were made from.