About the Costumes
In conversation with Costume Designer Nightwing Whitehead
How did you become involved in this project?
I saw a mention of it on Facebook and, as I love Shakespeare, reached out to see if they needed costuming help. Also, I was intrigued at the idea of the new theater; I wanted to be a part of it all from the ground up, if I could.
What was your specific contribution to the conceptual aspect of the show as a whole?
I helped develop the idea of the fairies being *in* the computer. My personal contribution was the idea of the Rude Mechanicals being frontline workers. It was also my idea that the costumes for Pyramus & Thisbe be left over costumes from plays cancelled due to COVID.
What inspirations/influences did you focus on in the early stages of your process of creation/design/writing/conceptualizing your contribution to this project?
In the earliest stages, my mind was wandering around Olde England, looking for a playwright and I found these lovelies, who said they could help
Once we began talking about it being computer based, I turned to images of friends and such.
What was your creative process? Please give examples.
I started out thinking in terms of what the fairies should look like. But when Jake showed me his ideas, I realized he had everything there under control. I became his handy sidekick, doing the fittings and alterations, and using my own magic to make it all work for the project.
Jake and I worked together on the sets of Lovers, to come up with the looks for each of them. We had originally been exploring the looks of such artists as Erté, but it evolved to a more modern and preppy look.
I had complete freedom with the Rude Mechanicals. I wanted them to reflect "the Common Man" as they were representatives of Duke Theseus' peasants. Making them frontline workers worked better than I could have dreamed, and using costumes from cancelled plays was an obvious choice once it started coming together. I am so happy for having the chance to create them!
What were your greatest challenges throughout the process?
Communication between people that I never heard about, but that was vital to what I was working on. This got better as time went on but I would have to say that communication was my biggest challenge. Everything else was the same familiar thing- creating magic with no time and no money. And we did it!
Has any aspect of this project surprised you? If so, what was it and why?
I was completely blown away by how open everyone was. There was no infighting or stuggling for power. Brainstorming, for example, was truly everyone talking at the same time with excited ideas about how to accomplish each goal. Everyone had an equal voice, and all voices were listened to.
If you could choose one aspect of your contribution (one design, one song, one costume, one scene) that you are most satisfied with/proud of, what would it be and why?
The Rude Mechanicals were my pride and joy. I loved how well I was able to match the occupations to the individual personalities. My favorite costume, if I had to pick just one, would be Thisbe's for the play within a play. Thisbe was *exactly* as I'd envisioned her, mostly due to the incredible actor (Theo Zucconi) who stole the stage with an innocent look, a proud figure, and bouncy curls.
What has it been like working with the FUSE Team on 'A Midsummer Night's Dream- The Rewired Musical'?
This is the most fun I have had in a *very* long time on a production. Everyone was completely involved, and talked everything out with all the others, from design to tech to media to the cast. It was a dream opportunity and I am eager for when we regroup to create more magic.