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Jesuit Chronicle

Writing. Photography. Video. The home of Jesuit High School student journalism.

Jesuit Chronicle

Writing. Photography. Video. The home of Jesuit High School student journalism.

Jesuit Chronicle

Costuming shares center stage in Shakespeare in Love

Ted Pelster
Costuming shares center stage with actors in Shakespeare in Love.

Debuting April 25, Jesuit’s Spring production of Shakespeare in Love is not only a thematic shift from previous Spring productions, but also an impressive feat for the costuming department.

Set in the 16th century, Shakespeare’s kirtles and stays are a far-cry from the button up vests and 50s crinolines of Jesuit’s most recent production, Big Fish.

While complete accuracy is a pipe-dream for most reproductions of historical costume, especially costume designed for the stage, Jesuit’s student costume-crew say that accuracy was a major goal during the design process.

“The design process for this show was longer than most, because of the intricacy and rarity of the costumes. Renée, the costume [lead], has been planning since early winter.” said costumer Ellie Quinn.

From studying extant garments in books, to visiting Westview High-school’s costumes for their recent production of Kiss Me Kate, the costuming process has been a challenge. While replicating the wear of a 16th century playwright is arduous enough, the crew also had to consider an artistic lens, as they aimed to tell the story and development of each character throughout the play.

The lead costume designer, Renée Seed, said, “designing for actual historical people is tricky, you want to be able to make some creative choices… and at the same time represent the character so the audience can follow the story.”

In addition to balancing forces of strenuous accuracy and communicative story-telling, modern compromises also had to be made.

In fact, Quinn said, “the most difficult part is trying to remain accurate while wanting ease and comfort. We cannot realistically use hooks and strings to close every piece, but zippers and velcro did not exist back then.”

Indeed, holding every piece to an exponential standard of accuracy would be a massive hindrance to story-telling. Rather than capitalizing on stunning quick-changes that are littered throughout the Shakespeare in Love script, entirely accurate costumes would need to be meticulously removed, one whale-boned-stays eyelet at a time (Silhouettes).

Looking towards this week’s debut, the costume-crew is content with their impressive accomplishments.

Camila Byles, costume-crew member, said “from my years of costuming shows, putting quality into our work is always something we strive to do.”

That hard work and standard of quality is dazzling in Shakespeare in Love’s costuming, and will be lighting up the Moyer Theater from April 25 through Sunday, the 28th.

Tickets are available for purchase on the Jesuit website, or at this link: Jesuit High School.

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About the Contributor
Alice Radford-Brown
Alice Radford-Brown, News Editor
Alice Radford- Brown is a curious, skeptical self- starter embarking on her first year in Jesuit Advanced Media Production. She was born in Amsterdam and moved to San Francisco in 2009. Alice now lives in NE Portland with her father, mother, brother, and two precious guinea pigs, Darcy and Beatrice. Growing up with British parents largely shaped her writing style, which is distinctively influenced by Bronte’s eerie moors, and The Cure’s contemplative resentment of gloomy English weather. Her past experience includes involvement in Jesuit’s technical theater program, feverish writing with her mother, and late nights trying to master the B chord on her beloved ¾ Washburn guitar. She is also the leader and founder of the Music Analysis Club. As a senior, she is excited to delve as deeply as possible into work with Jesuit Media, before leaving high school to pursue a career in some form of storytelling. This year, Alice will be heading up Jesuit’s electrifying music podcast, The Sader Sound, with Ana Casado-Rodriguez, as well as writing for the Jesuit Chronicle. She hopes to engage the community in uncomfortable conversations, and share unadulterated, passionate discussions with Jesuit’s own musicians on the Sader Sound.