Mixing avant-garde with French fashion of the 1660s: Gustavus Senior designs costumes for the fall production of “The Misanthrope”
For the fall production of Gustavus Adolphus College The Misanthrope, senior Theater major Kjerstin Anderson ’22 is the costume designer. The play, written by Molière and directed by guest assistant professor Kimberly Braun ’11, takes place in 1660s France and explores the importance of balancing honesty and societal expectations.
As this production takes place in a modern reality TV show about 1660s France, Anderson’s designs combine historical period elements with modern avant-garde fashion and reality TV inspirations. Anderson says one of the characters the team spent the most time discussing was Célimène, Alceste’s lover, because she can be interpreted very differently in different productions. “As a character, she’s not a super great person, but she’s not the villain of the story either,” says Anderson. “Is this this woman who only uses men and doesn’t care about their feelings, or is this a way for her to assert her own agency in these times when she doesn’t have much?”
“Having the adaptability of her costume to show different levels of vulnerability is important, so she has things that are softer and a little more mellow, and then she has things that are a lot more streamlined and things that are a little more. attractive, ”she said. . Célimène’s costume also incorporates saddlebags from the historical period, which Anderson explains both as a nod to the roots of the play but also as a “vvery literal metaphor for the cage the women were in “during the period of the play.
“I am so excited to create the designs that Kjerstin has developed,” says Larissa McConnell, permanent assistant professor of theater and dance. “She gave this production her sparkle that infects us all in the costume store, making each day filled with enthusiasm for what we do.” McConnell oversees the costume shop in Gustavus.
Turning the costumes from ideas and designs into actual creations was the part that worried Anderson the most. “I work in the costume shop so I understand how things are built and how things are made, but I’m not our best stitcher,” she says. “It’s so humbling and invigorating to be around people who can do such wonderful things with fabric and who are so excited to help these things that were literally the figment of the imagination come true.”
McConnell says Anderson created an atmosphere of excitement and fun in the costume shop. “We like to show him what we are working on because his reactions are sincere and full of gratitude,” she says.
“I learned to trust myself and my own ideas,” says Anderson. “It was so much fun and this experience is something that I will compare everything to for the rest of my life.”
Anderson plans to attend graduate school in costume design after graduating in the spring. “I think one of the most important things I’ve learned is to stay in my position and have confidence in myself,” she says. “Finding it in myself and really believing what I’m doing is important, because the way the arts affect people and opinions and can create narratives, I think, is really important to the way we operate as that company. “
Shows The Misanthrope are November 11-13 at 8 p.m. and November 13-14 at 2 p.m. at the Rob and Judy Gardner Laboratory Theater. Tickets are on sale now.
PLEASE NOTE: All ticket holders must present proof of complete COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result received within 72 hours of the show, along with valid photo ID for attend the show. Children 11 and under are exempt from this requirement. Masks must be worn at all times, regardless of vaccination status.