Thursday, April 30, 2015

Dreaming in Vivid Detail: Jade Bettin's Design for Mary's Wedding

In Stephen Massicotte's Mary's Wedding we follow Mary and Charlie through a dream sequence the night before Mary is supposed to get married. Costume designer, Jade Bettin's, research coupled with her evident passion for the play have produced designs that are detailed and multifaceted. They create a canvas for actors Carey Cox and Myles Bullock to paint their poignant story.

Because the play takes place during a dream, Jade explains that the clothing must be bound in reality, but that there is some leniency. Mary is seen in a white lace nightgown, but Jade explained that the time period worked to her advantage. Many dresses in the 1910s worn during the day were similar to nightgowns. Women sported dresses that looked similar to modern lingerie with a great deal of lace detailing.

The dress worn by Mary is quite personal to Jade. Her interest in costume design was sparked by her mother. Her mother was a seamstress and Jade said she received her first sewing machine when she was in 5th grade. She remembers spending hours sewing together. Since her mother's passing eight
Jade's final rendering.
years ago, Jade puts elements of her mother onstage in the clothes she designs. All of the fabrics, laces, and trims of Mary's dress belonged to Jade's mother, making this design a very special one.

Jade has a deep interest in the intersection between fashion and history. Her extensive research of images can be seen on her Pinterest board here. It's filled with landscapes of Canada and France, images of silky white lace dresses, and clothing worn by cavalry men.

Charlie's costume had to serve multiple functions. Charlie works on a farm and rides horses, so he is seen in a neutral button up shirt, riding pants, and lace-up boots. Jade ensured that elements of his costume would also fit in a battlefield setting with details like his stand collar. Small details such as this indicate a change in character onstage. 

See Jade's personal, adaptive designs for Mary's Wedding onstage April 29th to May 3rd!

Click here for more information or call our box office at 919.962.7529.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Director Cody Nickell on imagining his "dream play," Mary's Wedding

In Mary's Wedding by Stephen Massicotte, two actors come together to create a dream sequence taking us through horse rides, battle scenes and tea parties that ultimately lead to the blossoming of their love. The character Charlie first addresses the audience and makes it perfectly clear that the events to follow are part of a dream. "I ask you to remember that," he says. Director Cody Nickell says the dreamlike setting allows the production to break all rules of time, space, and at times, even character.

Cody had many difficult questions to answer at the start of the production process. The dream moves from place to place quickly, leaving complicated theatrical elements for Cody to consider. While some may see these questions as challenges, Cody chooses to see them as gifts.
"How do you bring to life a horse for a cavalry charge when there is no horse? How do you show a moonlit battle between trenches on the front lines of World War I with only two actors? And maybe most interesting, for all its theatricality, how do you show the simple story at the heart of this play about two young people falling in love?"
While the staging can be difficult, the underlying story of Mary's Wedding is much simpler. It follows the relationship of two young people in love and the Great War that comes between them. To escape a thunderstorm, Charlie, played by Myles Bullock, and Mary, played by Carey Cox, seek shelter in an old barn. In this setting, their vulnerabilities are exposed and we see sparks of love develop between them almost immediately. The audience follows their budding romance, and ultimately, their separation when Charlie is taken off to war.
"It begins at the end and ends at the beginning. There are sad parts. Don’t let that stop you from dreaming it too. " - Charlie, in his first monologue from Mary's Wedding.
The many imaginative gifts the production staff conjures will awaken the imaginations of audience members as well. "This engagement of audience imagination makes the experience active for them, not passive; they become witnesses, not just observers," says Cody. The actors are on a journey, but they invite the audience along to experience the terror and the hope that Charlie and Mary encounter.

Jeff Adelberg's mystic skyscapes and lighting will be a key factor in the quickly changing time, place and mood of the dream sequence. And Cody says costume designer Jade Bettin took initial costume ideas and ran with them, doing spectacular research and paying attention to details that further conceptualize the journey both the actors and audience traverse. Jeff's lighting paired with Jade's period costumes will pique imaginations and transform the stage from a physical space, to a fantastical world with no limits.

Cody says he's thrilled to collaborate with scenic designer Daniel Conway once again. Daniel's set has a circular frame creating a portal through which the audience views the story. This portal takes us from Canadian plains to European battlefields on a dynamic set that will evoke the many settings explored by the young lovers.

Experience the dream of Mary's Wedding with us April 29th to May 3rd!

Click here for more information or call our box office at 919.962.7529.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wardrobes that span decades in 4000 Miles

In Amy Herzog's play 4000 Miles, life unexpectedly throws Leo and Vera together. They are drastically different, with Leo in biking attire and casual jeans and Vera in the effortless wardrobe she's collected throughout her time living in the West Village of New York City. Costume designer Jan Chambers has crafted distinct ensembles that reflect the unique lives of the play's characters.

Vera's closet is full of items she's collected over the years. She's lived in the same apartment since the 1950s, so her wardrobe is as eclectic as the fashion trends of the decades Vera has experienced. Vera dresses comfortably, but Jan made sure she has some pizazz. Jan says, "Vera is not your Midwestern grandmother." Because she has a visitor, she is dressing up more than usual. Vera also attends two funerals during the play, but Jan said she wears a lot of black anyway. "She's a New Yorker," Jan explains. 

Costuming Leo proved to be a challenge, as he's been on a 4000 mile bicycling trip from Seattle to New York. When he arrives at Vera's door, the only clothes he has are the items he could carry in a bag. His wardrobe is that of an unrestricted nomad on a bicycle, including jeans, a rain jacket, a V-neck sweater, and other casual clothing he could bring from place to place.

Amanda, played by Sehee Lee, is an art student Leo brings home one night. Jan said she and director Desdemona Chiang really enjoyed putting her outfit together. Amanda wears platform shoes, fishnet tights, purple streaks in her hair, and a coral leather jacket. She's young, quirky, and has the edginess of a New York City art student.

See Jan's costume renderings come to life below! 

Jan's design for Leo, as worn by Schuyler Scott Mastain. Photo by Curtis Brown.
Jan's design for Vera, as worn by Dee Maaske. Photo by Jon Gardiner.
Jan's design for Bec, as worn by Arielle Yoder. Photo by Jon Gardiner.
Jan's design for Leo, as worn by Schuyler Scott Mastain. Photo by Curtis Brown.

Jan's design for Vera, as worn by Dee Maaske. Photo by Jon Gardiner.

Jan's design for Amanda, as worn by Sehee Lee. Photo by Jon Gardiner.
Jan's design for Vera, as worn by Dee Maaske. Photo by Curtis Brown.

Jan's design for Leo, as worn by Schuyler Scott Mastain. Photo by Jon Gardiner.

See Jan Chambers' designs onstage in 4000 Miles through April 19th!

Click here for more info or call our box office at 919.962.7529.