By Annie Cady
Back in April, we had our first design meeting for Peter and the Starcatcher. Though I read the play at least a couple of times before the meeting, this was really the first time that all of the designers come together to start working on the version of the play that we were going to create together. In this meeting our director, Hal, described his concept (he’s the ship’s captain!). He talked about the play being full of fun and adventure. One of the phrases I jotted down in my notes was “recapture the magic and imagination of childhood”. He wanted magic to be at the heart of the story.
The script requires the audience to use their imagination. As designers, Hal asked us to create a playground with lots of possibilities. We needed ways to quickly move forward in the story: to change locations with one move of a set piece or prop, and to change character with the addition of an eye patch, a hat or an epic mustache. Every actor plays multiple characters, often with merely seconds to change.
As the Costume Designer, I thought about the life on a ship, and what those characters would need to survive that life. I thought about a long sea crossing and the world of pirates and orphan boys. My visual research mostly consisted of worn and patched up clothing. Pieces that looked lived in and brought a lot of texture to the stage. I found images that made sense for each character and started to sketch. My costume renderings take all of my research and combine the disparate parts into a single cohesive character.
I was also inspired by the time period, so you will see a nod to the late 1800s in some of the pieces. But we are not strict – Hal did want magic, fun and an atmosphere of playfulness. So, I chose to add some sillier things that also fit in with the quick character changes – lobster claw hands, pasta hats and a lacy bonnet for Jeremy all find a place in the design.
Things often change a bit as we make our way through tech week. My work is only partially done right now. But so far, I think we are finding the way to bring magic, playfulness and adventure to life on stage. I can’t wait for you to experience all of that magic for yourself!