Informing Bethany Lutheran College's Spring 2013 Production. Shows at: April 19, 20, 26, 27 at 7:30pm and April 21 at 2pm
Emily Kimball graduated from Bethany with a “fresh theatre degree burning a hole in her pocket” in May 2010. Her journey away from Bethany and back is an interesting one and if you join her down in the costume shop, she will certainly share stories through pins in her mouth and fabric draped all over herself.
Despite being a young designer, Kimball is well aware of how special it is to be able to return “home” to Bethany and work in a department she loves. I sat down with her in the “dungeon” to discuss her work on Hamlet.
Emily’s design research has been a huge cog in the collaborative machine of this production. She uses Pinterest as a medium to gather images she finds and shares them with Pete and other involved in the production.
An image from Emily’s Pinterest board.
While her board has altered perceptions of the concept, Emily insists that starting with the director’s concept is the first step when beginning a design. Before gathering visual research, a designer has to understand what the director’s vision is.
Naturally, that understanding is a process. So after Emily has begun gathering visual research, pulling garments from stock, and sketching designs, she will remain in close contact with the director. She maintains that that is the beauty of working in such a close-knit community where everyone is doing everything.
“I can text Pete a picture of a dress or run up to his office and ask him to look at something, what other place is like that?”
Creating the Design
When it comes to actually clothing characters, Emily maintains that everything must be character-supported. Particularly when designing for a conceptual show, such as our production of “Hamlet” there is room for creative solutions, but there always needs to be some consistency.
Some directions are obvious choices, Ophelia wears girly fabrics because that is in character and what the director is looking for. Other characters require more thought and exploration. The design for Gertrude has undergone a variety of manifestations because she cannot be approached in a simple manner.
Costuming for the Future
Emily certainly has a long career of costuming ahead of her and is thrilled ot be doing that work at Bethany.
“I enjoy that we do things conceptually based. We do period pieces, but also we do things unexpected.”
And to be sure, her work for “Hamlet” is certainly unexpected.
Lydia Grabau, Dramaturg