The biggest joke of all is that I knew that set design was a path, but I had no concept of costume design in high school. I went to school for directing, and luckily my NYU studio (Playwrights Horizons Theater School) made all of the students design each other's shows. So as a product of two psychologists and one shopaholic, I was naturally drawn to the forensic-emotional-sartorial field. I luckily landed an intern position on the Shakespeare in the Park's Winter's Tale through a connection who heard me too loudly talking about costume designing a school show, and I credit that as the start of my career. I fell in love when I realized that designing is a combination of psychology, story telling, history, emotional expression, collaboration, shopping, tangible creation, and magic. It's transformative, transcendent, and totally sexy.
How do you negotiate artistic need and limited resources? Is there an artistic difference between how you approach an indie show versus a show with plenty of time, money etc?
You always have to start designing without limitations- you never know what resources you will discover mid-process! And no matter the circumstance or producer, there's never enough time or money. There's always room for perfecting or adjusting. When I encounter a project that is limited in resources, I find that my job is to communicate story through manipulating iconic images, fabrics, and silhouettes. It's all about creating broad strokes with detailed context clues to lead your audience along.
What's exciting for you about doing an indie show? What makes you cringe?
You meet such scrappy people in the indie world! It's inspiring and exciting to be surrounded by people who have such a community-centric attitude that truly understands that (at the end of the day) it's a play. It's playful! The thing that makes me cringe is being in theaters that don't have the proper resources to support the actors preparation, or even the costumes' prep. You can end up in spaces that are cramped without proper lighting for makeup, or enough outlets for, say, curling irons. It's petty, but it's a functional support for the actors process.
What could the indie community do to make things easier for costume designers all around? What could scene or sound or lighting designers do to make your job easier on a specific production?
The impossible- more time. Time under the proper lights, time for hours of discussion... And also making sure you have nonprofit status for me to utilize resources like TDF Costume Collection and MFTA.
Tell me about something you achieved in 2013 that makes you feel really good:
I made a funny beaver costume overnight for the terraNOVA Collective's production of Death For Sydney Black the other week? And finding the greatest Pharaoh-printed leggings for the Joes Pub production of Latrell Live Tonight. And the assistant work I did on Big Fish. In general though, I'm so grateful and thrilled that I have continued to forge relationships with other fantastic theater artists. 2013 has been a great step in my career, and I can't wait to see what happens next.
What's coming up in 2014?
I know up to May-- I am assisting William Ivey Long on the Broadway revival of Cabaret, styling the upcoming Latrell Live Tonight webseries (http://ilovelatrell.com), designing Flux Theatre Ensemble's Jane the Plain, and designing a short film in the summer.