Costume defines the personality of each character. We are what we wear. I love the hours spent with the actor and the seamstress in the costume atelier, searching the mirror for the exact right reflection. My thoughts about the character meet the image the actor holds inside. More of this, less of that … the mirror shows a new person, alive, as if she had always been there. When the costume comes off the rack and onto the stage the character is suddenly visible. The actor discovers ways of being, ways of moving in the folds and fit of each garment. Costume is always magic. It is a powerful ally and strengthens the actor in the expression of the role.
Each process has a starting point, always something unique to the production. It might be a word, an image or a particular tone; the important thing is the listening, the waiting, not forcing, but allowing the answer to present itself. The initial conversation with the director is full of opportunity, a blank page soon filled with sketches, a tale told in present tense, finding a form that speaks to us today. When carefully woven, these strings of narrative become a safety net, something to fall into during the rehearsal period. Theatre is a collaborative art. The final production is a collection of ideas and inspirations from many sources; direction, set design, acting; all seamlessly joined so that in the best of processes one would think it the product of a single mind. Set design for me begins with the will and the freedom to experiment.
Working with exhibitions, the set designers eye is a meaningful tool. One needs to understand what the room itself has for purpose. The visitor is both actor and spectator. The room needs to inspire curiosity, to allow a story to unfold, to capture the spectator, egging her on, making her forget the world outside. My work begins with knowing who this spectator is and then finding a narrative that will propel him or her into the world of the exhibition. Once the narrative is in place I can begin to define the room. Will I build physical elements or will I work with digital images? What does the subject of the exhibition demand? I strive always to make the space accessible to everyone, whatever their age, their ability, their means of perception. It is all part of the challenge.