Fashion Fit For a King – GVT presents ‘The Tragedy of Hamlet’

Aaron Christensen* and Desiree Baxter* as Claudius and Gertrude in GVT’s production of “The Tragedy of Hamlet.” (Photo courtesy Greenbrier Valley Theatre) *denotes members of Actors’ Equity Association
Aaron Christensen* and Desiree Baxter* as Claudius and Gertrude in GVT’s production of “The Tragedy of Hamlet.” (Photo courtesy Greenbrier Valley Theatre) *denotes members of Actors’ Equity Association

 

 

Greenbrier Valley Theatre (GVT), the State Professional Theatre of West Virginia, presents Shakespeare’s “The Tragedy of Hamlet.” The production runs Oct. 10 and 15-17 at 7:30 p.m. The public may attend scheduled school matinees during the week. Call GVT’s Box Office for more details.

Tickets are $27 for general admission, $24 for seniors and $20 for children/students. For tickets or more information contact the GVT Box Office at 304-645-3838 or visit www.gvtheatre.org.

In the midst of impending war, Prince Hamlet learns from the ghost of his father that he was murdered by Hamlet’s uncle, Claudius. With news of Claudius’ ascent to the throne and his hasty marriage to Hamlet’s mother, the Prince is forced to avenge his father’s death. Paralyzed by the task he must do, he rages against the situation he finds himself in, threatening his sanity and the future of the state. Shakespeare’s timeless tragedy of murder, madness, treachery and revenge is generally considered his greatest masterpiece.

GVT’s Resident Costume Designer Jenna Fawn Brown earned an MFA in Costume Design from Florida State and designed costumes for “The Cherry Orchard” and “Dracula: A Rock Opera,” among others. She embraced the unusual challenge of designing a historical production of this play.

“Outside of graduate level class work the English Renaissance is a time in clothing history in which most theatres do not set a play. Thus it ends up relegated to the Renaissance faire circuit,” said Brown.

Fashion, not history, before and during the Elizabethan period was her goal. The outcome is a wardrobe that reflects the fashion of the time while not trapping the characters into one moment in history.

“I tried to create an amalgam of what was happening in Renaissance fashion ranging from the late Tudor period through to the early Elizabethan period, creating more of an idea of the era as opposed to a definitive look,” said Brown.

It is no easy task to design for such an opulent and rich time. Brown found inspiration in using color to illustrate the relationships of the characters. “My main focus for the play was a heavy palette of blues and greens to connect courtly allegiances,” said Brown.

Brown’s creative combinations have inspired a wardrobe rich in history. Her costumes allow the audience to see the fashion of an era in one show.

 

 

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