It’s appropriate that as I sit writing this blog post about designing costumes for All’s Well That Ends Well that I have the fabulous movie The Princess Bride playing in the background… because it is a bit like our world for All’s Well…
From early on in the design process, Russ asked me to think about this play as a Fairy Tale or Fable… full of iconic characters that live “once upon a time”… and full of madcap witty humor, magical cures, dark shadows, and happy (or at least deserved) endings. The challenge in approaching a design as a fairy tale, especially for a Shakespeare play, is to find a way to tap into that vocabulary without simplifying the sophisticated story… the adultness inherent in Shakespeare’s work. How do we create a fairy tale for adults? How do we use the iconic without taking away the pain of unrequited love, the embarrassment of receiving inappropriate affection, the dark places that men in prolonged combat find?
I was an especially lucky costume designer that Russ sent me beautiful pictures of the Unicorn Tapestries and other medieval finds from a recent trip to Europe to inspire me… and I did my own research into the gorgeous, haunting, dark illustrations of Arthur Rackham (if you don’t know his work, I suggest you google him right now)!
And so, after mushing this all up… along with the creative input of the HVS actors that I have come to adore and admire over the last 3 years: Wes, Jason, and Rick… and the actors I have just met: Jessica who gives Helena a lovely heart, Dan and Dan who make such an enchanting Mother and Son, Ara who will charm you with music, and Jeff who makes a most beguiling wench… I think we have created our Kingdom. It still has a lot of growing to do, but I hope you will take the journey with us next month. Now, Inigo is about to find the Man in Black in the Pit of Despair, so I have to go. See you at Boscobel!