Laughter is the Best Medicine

Snapshot: Designing for Humor & Heart

Working on one of Jeff Witty’s pieces I think
is really exciting just because he balances humor and he can also get to your heart really
quickly. My name is Loren Shaw and I’m the costume designer for Head Over Heels and the first things I thought about the show were it’s got to be colorful and it’s gotta be a ton of fun, it’s
gotta be surprising and it’s all about the reveal and
what’s on the other side. There’s a lot of Elizabethan references
and the fact that it’s based on Philip Sydney’s Arcadia, it was a good
place to start. And then we also have 80s on
the other side of that, and the club kids of the 80s were really a
big inspiration for me and the way that they would dress up and
play and play at life and play characters and the way they would mix
things that necessarily you wouldn’t think to mix them. The makeup, and all of that, that felt
really right to this world so I definitely tapped into that. So we start in this place called Arcadia
and its very rigid and controlled. Then, as we go through the play, the
costumes start sort of coming apart and breaking down ,as
they go from Arcadia into the forest. And, you know, pieces come off, and you can just imagine, it’s summer. They’re traveling. There’s reasons why they might
pick up their skirt and take off that ruff, or whatever. And it shows the breaking down of these rigid
structures that they’ve built around themselves and we start seeing new color and then, by the time we get to the end of the play, we’re back in Arcadia, which is now new Arcadia and they’re in the same place
but they’re different people now and so it
harkens back to the original Arcadia looks but now it’s a
much more modern feeling and it’s very celebratory. There’s a
big wedding and there’s lots of 80s color. My goal was to create as much of a surprise for the audience as possible, so there’s some really fun moments
that I would say are explosive and illuminating, and a ton of fun.

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