We did this show with a longer time frame than usual, with our company rehearsing two plays in rep. David gave me the fabulous challenge to create a world that was at once Elizabethan and modern. Emboldened by development time, the support of Luke McDonough at the Public and my brilliant assistant Lena Sands, I went out on a limb and designed some things I had no idea how to realize.
Using modern British designers as well as historical portraits for inspiration, I honed in on a hybrid silhouette, with period slashing on modern jackets and dropped crotch pants updating the eroticism of trunk hose. The palette was fleshy oil paint gold, salmon and rust for the brothel and sanctimonious grey for the monastery and Angelo’s court. Mistress Quickly’s skirt was a pornographic take on the sea creatures in the Hardwick Hall portrait of Queen Elizabeth I. David Menkes made leather jackets and anatomically correct demons, Chuck Lapointe did demented hair, and Meghan Buchanan crafted body armor for the Plague victims. John Gromada’s stirring music and Danai Gurira’s heartbreaking performance were especially memorable; as was the satisfaction of hard work coming together under the sailing moon in Central Park.
By William Shakespeare
Directed by David Esbjornson
Set Design: Scott Pask • Lighting Design: Peter Kaczorowski • Composer: John Gromada • Hair/ Wig Design: Chuck LaPointe
Cast: Lorenzo Pisoni, Danai Gurira, Michael Hayden, John Cullum, Annie Parisse, Tonya Pinkins, Reg Rogers, Carson Elrod, Andre Holland, Dakin Matthews, Lucas Caleb Rooney, David Manis, Joe Forbrich, Caitlin O’Connell, Kristin Connolly, Jordan Lund, Bill Army, Charlie Murphy, Carra Patterson, James Rees, Benjamin Thys, Brendan Titley, Katie Tuminelly and Roger Yeh.
Photos: Joan Marcus