The Crucible: Costume design (including hair and make-up)

The Crucible: Costume design (including hair and make-up)

The Crucible: Costume Design

  • Costume in “The Crucible” produces an instant visual snapshot of the time period and social status of the characters. The Puritan community sported muted earth tones, a symbol of their religious conservatism.
  • Variations in costumes could denote differences in social status. Wealthier characters wore higher quality fabrics and adornments than their poorer counterparts.
  • Costumes also have potential to be used symbolically. For instance, a change in costume can denote a change in a character’s situation or internal state. For example, if Abigail Williams started wearing richer, darker clothing as her power in the community grew, this could symbolically reflect her increasing corruption.
  • When considering costume design for a performance of “The Crucible”, attention should be paid to the historical accuracy along with the symbolic portrayal of the character’s personalities, their evolution, and the societal norms of the time.
  • Each costume on the stage serves a purpose. It is not just about historical accuracy, they also emphasise the themes of tradition, hierarchy and religious doctrine in the play.

Characterization Through Costume

  • The dresses worn by the women were long and modest, with fitted bodices, long sleeves, and high necklaces. This reflects the Puritan’s distaste for anything deemed flamboyant or prideful. The colours were also muted, primarily blacks, greys, and browns.
  • Men’s costumes were equally as simple, favoring function over fashion. Typical apparel included trousers, long-sleeve shirts, waistcoats, and hats. Again, muted colours and plain materials were preferred.

Hair and Makeup in “The Crucible”

  • Make-up, if used at all, would be minimal or non-existent. The Puritans viewed overt displays of vanity, like make-up, as sinful.
  • Hair styles were also typically conservative. Women’s hair was usually worn up and covered with a cap or bonnet. Men’s hair was short and neatly combed.
  • Overall, the design aspects of the costumes, make-up, and hair should be used not just to lend authenticity to the performance, but also to subtly underscore the themes and character development throughout the play.