Hypothetical project in The Everyman Liverpool

Role- Set and Costume Designer
Director- Nick Bagnall

Written by John Vanbrugh

Here I chose to re-interpret a classic Restoration play in order to re-contextualise it for a modern audience. I chose the 1920s, an era for vast change the world over, where women were gaining power and a voice within the world, however they still lacked many of the same rights as men.

This time period seemed relevant for the text as Vanbrugh was deemed revolutionary for his time, writing along themes of cuckoldry featuring women as main characters and portraying men as slovenly and deceitful. At the time of writing, the play was not well received however I felt it could be more appealing to a modern audience.

The idea for the set was to incorporate both indoor and outdoor spaces which could easily adapt. As the show is a comedy, the idea was to make it as eccentric and somewhat ridiculous as possible, having columns which protrude from and recede into the floor, becoming both trees and over the top house plants as well as a full vine curtain which creates the spring garden and a bed canopy for the Mademoiselle’s Boudoir.

The characters names are very expressive of their personality traits such as Lord Brute, the abusive husband, Heartfree, the love interest, and Lady Fanciful the female opposition. These themes run throughout the costume designs, allowing the playful nature of these names to come through in the designs. I based the technique for drawing up the designs on traditional fashion illustrations from the time period. This was very helpful, allowing me to explore new methods of working as well as pulling me out of my comfort zone. Here I discovered that this technique is not only enjoyable but also effective in its outcome.