The Misanthrope Costumes- 4/11, Jewell Theatre Company
Costume Designs for The Misanthrope by Moliere
April 2011, Jewell Theatre Company
The 2011 spring mainstage play at Jewell Theatre Company was Moliere's The Misanthrope.  The director chose to reverse the genders of all of the characters so that the story played out with surprising results.  The  leading male character Alceste was played by a woman as a woman named Nicole.  The fickle leading female character Celimine was changed to a whiney and indecisive male playboy named Orgon.  The setting was switched from France to Washington D.C., USA and any references to governing bodies were changed to American government titles.     

Overall the performance was a success in that the script was made more accessible to young American audiences with the change of locale, and also gave some power to the female performers.

The setting was the living quarters of the playboy Orgon.  A young, rich up and coming government official. The shell of the room is designed after French Neo-Classical interiors, but reduced to more simple mouldings and trims.  The furnishings were modern and masculine, with a few feminine touches.

For this show I also took on the role of costume designer.  Since the period was modern/current, I felt that the best way to go was to "shop" the show.  I looked online and shopped locally in charity shops, department stores and boutiques.

The designs were executed over an 8 week period with the help of a student costume coordinator.  Her assistance was invaluable as she kept each character's pieces organized and ready for each rehearsal and performance.

I'd like to recognize Julianne Donovan of Keen Bee Creative for her creative work on hair and makeup!
This image illustrates some ladies fashion of the 17th century.  Researching clothing of the time period the play was written helped inform the choices for the modern costumes. 
 On my shopping adventures I ran across many garments like the ones above (it was prom season).  I felt that the Spring Fashion Lines would allow me to find clothing in the appropriate color scheme for the comedy of the show.
For the men i decided that suits in a variety of colors and cuts would be appropriate.  This light suit was the  perfect option for the lead male Orgon.
After collecting measurements and taking front and profile photos, i gathered m measuring tape and costume Bible and headed out to shop!  Being new to shopping for women's clothing, I brought my wife Julianne Donovan along for her advice.  I am eternally grateful for her sensitivity to what would look good and make the actor comfortable since there was a wide range of body types and sizes in the casting.  With her help I was able to make appropriate choices for each actor/character.
Orgon played by Jesse L. 
Here is the beige suit I found on my first shopping outing. 
Nicole played by Hannah O.
The green blouse and casual brown pant suit fit her character as one who was ready to leave society and move to the wilderness.
Lucille played by Karina B.
Her grey suit shows her professionalism and sensibility.  She is Nicole's friend and wants the best for her.
Harpagon played by Jesus L.
His black suit with subtle pinstripes show his "business as usual" nature, but the pink shirt and vintage tie show is romantic side as he attempts to woo Nicole.
Cleante played by Jimmy S.

His grey suit and peach colored shirt and tie link him visually to Lucille who he attempts to woo throughout the play.
Angelique played by Rachel P.
Her royal purple cocktail dress and outrageous hairdo and eye makeup show how she attempts to gain the effection of Orgon.
Georgette played by Julie C.
The pink cocktail gown mirrors that of Angelique as they compete for Orgon's love.  Notice the bird on her up-do hairstyle!
Twonette played by Whitney J.

Whitney actually played three smaller roles while also acting as stage manager!  As Twonette she took control of the situation in her powerful fashion statement!
This shot of the cast also illustrates Orgon in his more casual outfit.
The production photos were taken by college photographer Kyle Rivas. Click Here for more photos from The Misanthrope.