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2016 True West Award: Colorado Shakes' costume dream team

by John Moore | Dec 17, 2016
True West Awards. Colorado Shakespeare Festival. Costumers

 



30 DAYS, 30 BOUQUETS

Day 17: Colorado Shakespeare Festival's

2016 costume designers

In the summer of 2016, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival told stories that were bloody, bold and resolute. Not to mention steamy,  sexy … and at times even funny. But the actors didn’t tell those stories naked. (It only seemed like it at times.)

True West Awards EquivocationCostuming has long been a design strength of the nation’s second-oldest Shakespeare Festival, which will turn 60 in 2017. But costuming was a particularly effective storytelling tool last summer in a Boulder lineup that included lesser-known tales Troilus and Cressida, Cymbeline and a new play about an attempt to coerce Shakespeare into writing propaganda for the king - alongside a fresh, gender-swapping take on The Comedy of Errors.

Producing Artistic Director Timothy Orr calls the trio of Meghan Anderson DoyleHugh Hanson and Clare Henkel and  “a dream team of costume designers.”

“They are all so creative that they can be hugely helpful in developing how we tell a story sitting right alongside the director,” Orr said.

(Above and right: Hunter Ringsmith and Michael Morgan in Equivocation. Photo by Jennifer M. Koskinen).

While very different in style and aesthetic, this threesome shares a great commonality in skill and high standards. Together but separately, they helped their directors and actors transport audiences with their finery from the erotic carnage of the Trojan War in Troilus and Cressida to the untamed mythic forest of Cymbeline to jazz-age Paris in The Comedy of Errors - in which women played the two romantic leading men, and men played the two romantic leading women. Quincy Snowden of the Aurora Sentinel wrote: “Meghan Anderson Doyle’s outlandish outfits deserve special note for their eye-popping grandeur.”

More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

Probably the most eye-catching design in an impeccably cultivated season was the look Hanson created for Troilus and Cressida, one of Shakespeare’s more jumbled stories that director Carolyn Howarth set in a dystopian, war-torn world on the verge of apocalypse. Never let it be said that these actors sweltered under the weight of their bulky, ornate costumes under the hot Boulder sun, as so often has been the case over the past six decades.

True West Awards Timothy Orr QuoteThis "futuristic ancient" Greece of Howarth’s imagination was a place where the players have been at war not for seven years “but for maybe 700,000 years,” Orr said. “They just keep fighting — and having sex.” And let’s just say Hanson made sure they looked ready for action on or off the battlefield.

“The characters’ outfits would be as much at home in the 12th century as the 25th,” wrote Gary Zeidner of Boulder Weekly. “There’s a definite Mad Max aesthetic going on — including a punk-rock Cassandra — and it works.”

Orr said the art of costuming is an especially important art form to the Colorado Shakespeare Festival because of the expanse of its glorious, 1,000-seat Mary Rippon Amphitheatre on the University of Colorado campus. “Costumes are such a vital tool in helping us to tell our stories,” Orr said, “and having designers of this caliber working here makes all the difference.”

Colorado Shakes 2016 costume designers/At a glance

  • Meghan Anderson Doyle: 2016: A Comedy of Errors. 2017: The Taming of the Shrew. Doyle also has been a Costume Design Associate for the DCPA Theatre Company since 2006, with 12 show credits including the recent Fade, Tribes and The Glass Menagerie. She graduated from Denver's North High School, the University of Denver and received her M.F.A in Costume Design from the University of Florida.
  • Hugh Hanson: 2016: Equivocation, and Troilus and Cressida. 2017: He has designed 11 shows for Colorado Shakes since 2013 and is an Associate Professor of Costume Production at Carnegie Mellon University.
  • Clare Henkel: 2016: Cymbeline. 2017: Julius Caesar. She has designed shows for Colorado Shakes since 2007, and also has designed shows locally for the DCPA Theatre Company, Arvada Center. Phamaly Theatre Company, Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company and Colorado Springs Theatreworks. Graduated from the University of Evansville.


Video bonus: Meghan Anderson Doyle on DCPA's The Glass Menagerie



ABOUT THE TRUE WEST AWARDS

The True West Awards, now in their 16th year, began as the Denver Post Ovation Awards in 2001. DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore — along with additional voices from around the state — celebrate the entire local theatre community by recognizing 30 achievements from 2016 over 30 days, without categories or nominations. Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011. He has since taken a groundbreaking position as the Denver Center's Senior Arts Journalist. His daily coverage of the DCPA and the Colorado theatre community can be found at MyDenverCenter.Org

THE 2016 TRUE WEST AWARDS
Day 1: Jada Suzanne Dixon
Day 2: Robert Michael Sanders
Day 3: After Orlando
Day 4: Michael Morgan
Day 5: Beth Beyer
Day 6: Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski
Day 7: donnie l. betts
Day 8: Night of the Living Dead
Day 9: The Killer Kids of Miscast
Day 10: Jason Sherwood
Day 11: Leslie O'Carroll and Steve Wilson
Day 12: Jonathan Scott-McKean
Day 13: Jake Mendes
Day 14: Charles R. MacLeod
Day 15: Patty Yaconis
Day 16: Daniel Langhoff
Day 17: Colorado Shakespeare Festival costumers
Day 18: Miriam Suzanne
Day 19: Yolanda Ortega
Day 20: Diana Ben-Kiki
Day 21: Jeff Neuman
Day 22: Gabriella Cavallero
Day 23: Matthew Campbell
Day 24: Sharon Kay White
Day 25: John Hauser
Day 26: Lon Winston
Day 27: Jason Ducat
Day 28: Sam Gregory
Day 29: Warren Sherrill
Day 30: The Women Who Run Theatre in Boulder
Theatre Person of the Year Billie McBride

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ABOUT THE EDITOR
John Moore
John Moore
Award-winning arts journalist John Moore has recently taken a groundbreaking new position as the DCPA’s Senior Arts Journalist. With The Denver Post, he was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the US by American Theatre Magazine. He is the founder of the Denver Actors Fund, a nonprofit that raises money for local artists in medical need. John is a native of Arvada and attended Regis Jesuit High School and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Follow him on Twitter @moorejohn.

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