A Midsummer Night's Dream: Costume design (including hair and make-up)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Costume design (including hair and make-up)

Historical Context

  • The play was originally performed in the Elizabethan Era. Costume designs, therefore, should reflect this period.
  • Male actors play all characters, hence male attire dominates and cross-dressing is present.

Costumes for Different Groups

Fairy Realm Costumes

  • The costumes for the fairy realm characters such as Oberon, Titania, and Puck should embody the ethereal, capricious, and whimsical nature of these characters.
  • Lightweight materials, bright colors, and elements from nature such as vines, flowers, and foliage might adorn these costumes.

The Lovers’ Costumes

  • The costumes for the young lovers- Hermia, Lysander, Helena, and Demetrius- may denote their social standing and emotional journey.
  • As they move from strict Athenian society to the chaos of the woods, costumes could become disheveled and more rustic.

The Mechanicals’ Costumes

  • The Mechanicals should have workmanlike, down-to-earth costumes to reflect their lower social status.
  • Costumes for their play-within-a-play (Pyramus and Thisbe) might be deliberately shabby or comic, for added humor.

Visual Details

Headpieces and Hairstyles

  • These can give indication of a character’s role and status.
  • Athenian characters may sport more conservative, neat hairstyles, while the fairy characters may have more relaxed, wild hairstyles, potentially adorned with flowers or twigs.

Make-up Concepts

  • Like costumes, make-up should set apart the fairies from the humans.
  • Fairies may have more otherworldly, bright make-up, possibly incorporating glitter or metallic elements.
  • Humans, particularly the Athenians, might have more minimal, natural make-up.

Transformation Costumes

  • Note that Puck magically changes Bottom into an ass.
  • This transformation could be showcased by a simple mask or more complex head gear.

Color Themes and Symbols

  • Different colors can denote different factions or emotions.
  • Athenians might wear more muted, conservative colors, while fairies could have bright, various colors.

Props as Costumes

  • Costumes can include important props.
  • For example, Oberon and Titania, as king and queen of the fairies, might carry scepters or wear crowns.

Interpretative Choices

  • The design elements should match the interpretation of the play.
  • A traditional setting might call for more historic costuming while a modern or abstract version will demand a more innovative approach.