The Pirate Queen
Director: Lukas Brasherfons Scenic Design: Nic Wilson Costume Design: Hayley Ryan Lighting Design: Ellen Kane Sound Design: Guadalupe Flores Stage Manager: Aubrey Near
David Thayer Theatre
Comments by the Designer
The Pirate Queen debuted as part of the 2017 Iowa New Play Festival. University of Iowa alumnus Guadalupe Flores wrote this new work. The show is set in the 1940s, after World War II, in the back lot of a movie studio. After the lead of their new nautical movie is injured, the director brings in leading ladies from all over Hollywood to audition. Instead of the competitive environment of auditions and sword fighting pitting the women against each other, the women work together in a way that Hollywood has never seen.
The costume design for this show centered on the sword fighting. As this was a period piece, I tried to incorporate period details as much as possible while also giving the actors clothing that accommodated their sword fight choreography. This meant that I had to give the actors pants that had some stretch in the fabric, which wouldn’t have been available in the 1940s. I designed the women in skirts and dresses that had enough fullness for the actors to lunge. Another element that I had to design was the leather gloves of the characters. The director had asked that each actor wear leather gloves in order to safely sword fight on stage and in close proximity to audience members. Thus, I had to make sure that their leather gloves coordinated with their outfits but were also safe to use. The playwright took inspiration from actual Hollywood actresses of the period. For example, one of the characters was inspired by Katherine Hepburn. To reflect this, I designed that character in pants since Hepburn was notorious for wearing pants. Another link was the inspiration took from Carmen Miranda for the character of Carmen. Miranda was known for wearing bright colors and hats with fruit incorporated into them. For my version of Carmen, I put her in bright red and gave her a head wrap that symbolized her fruit headdresses.
Overall, for this design I wanted to accommodate the needs of the production, while also suggesting the inspirations that the playwright took from 1940’s Hollywood stars.
Copyright 2017 Hayley Ryan