Friday, October 7, 2011

Costume Imagry

It’s the beginning of the holiday season. It’s that beautiful time of year when the air turns crisp and scents of apple pie drifts on the wind. Our clothing changes towards cozy sweaters and outfits for the upcoming festivities, this seems to fuel the pulse of the world; for even the trees are putting on their party clothes. Don’t you know that they have a party before their long winter sleep? They get pretty wild, the trees. We clean up traces of their dresses for days after their celebration.

The way we dress makes a powerful statement as to who we are. Even the trees are aware of this when they pull out their stops with their “look at me!” leaves in sultry autumn colors. When we walk into a room full of people, unconsciously everything from our color choice and the shapes we have combined come together to help people form an opinion. Our clothes have an answer for a question that hasn’t yet been asked.

Especially in the finite world of a stage performance, a character’s clothes are specifically important. A costume designer has to consider carefully the message the overall image conveys to the audience. Like any art, costuming does have to have fluidity. A true artist must attempt to voice a message in the most boisterous tone, while allowing the audience their own vision. Different individuals, with unique set of circumstances will have different interpretations of the same art form.

Color is particularly open to interpretation. Green is a color particularly favored by Terra Mysterium. With connotations of growing things, images of spring and the environment around us, it is easy to see why green is a favorite for shows featuring the spirits of nature. Green can also imply abundance and vitality as a reference to vast flowing green fields. Did you know though, that in some Eastern philosophy, the power center (most commonly referred to as a chakra) over your heart is green? If your circumstances include this, the color green might suggest love or vulnerability. We can also be “green with envy.” Which suggests that green can be associated with darkness and the more dangerous. This, in Terra Mysterium shows about the unpredictable tendency of nature, is perhaps an appropriate message to convey.

The color red too, also provides multiple messages. It is without question a power color, an anchor.

In the gothic world, enamored of death, black is the favored color. However it was the deep passionate shade of the pomegranate which took center stage in Finding Eluesis. Partly because Terra Mysterium wanted to make a statement about the passion between Persephone and Hades, rather than getting caught up in a dark depiction of the Underworld. Red can also symbolize profound joy.

Shape, is also symbolic. Terra Mysterium is particularly fond of more historic lines. The forms of the Renaissance era which are flowing and constricted at the same time fit our perceptions of those unpredictable nature spirits of which we are so fond. Though truth be told, Terra Mysterium is currently enamored of the Steampunk movement. There is something decidedly alluring about Victorian era clothing done in modern leather and metal. These costumes ask a question: what is being repressed and hidden? And, what is desired?

Truly our hope through our entire art form is to reflect our questions on our audience.

What are you hiding?

What is your secret desire? 

Did you think about that when you got dressed this morning?

1 comment:

  1. "We clean up traces of their dresses for days after their celebration." Brilliant. Thanks for sharing these musings...