Nothing but Days
Director: Sarah Lacy Hamilton Scenic Design: Merric Bower Costume Design: Akeem Celestine Lighting Design: Ellen Kane Sound Design: Bri Atwood Stage Manager: Lindsay Warnick
Comments by the Designer
Another new work written in the not-so-distant future was Nothing but Days, written by a fellow graduate student Courtney Meaker. Beyond the wall exists famine, death and violence; those are just the tip of the iceberg. Gender expectations of the inner city play a large role in the plot and how the play functions overall. Because of societal norms queer, characters known as Qu’alls are tasked with monitoring the “wall”. On the wall, these characters live out their days. With the show being set in the future, the initial thought was to go futuristic with the costumes, but technology on the wall was not advanced enough for what I was planning. This gave me a challenge of finding ways to separate characters from the inner city to those living on the wall.
The Qu’alls have limited access to new or clean clothing and I wanted that to be apparent. I refrained from using contemporary pieces because I wanted the audience to understand that these women couldn’t be concerned about what they were wearing, they wanted to be comfortable and having clothes that are functional. I began to focus on shapeless silhouettes that felt comfortable and effortless. The Qu’alls do not care to look good for anyone, they do not shower every day and that is the norm. The functionality of the Qu’alls costume allow for them to move quickly from job to job. The size of the cast also played a major role in the design choices that were made. On a smaller production like this one, the show budget was used quite quickly. My budget for the show with $0. I did not buy any of the pieces worn during the show and everything was machine washable which was crucial for making this all possible. I found myself looking into pieces that reminded me of leisure wear or lounging attire. The color palette of the Qu’alls was very muted, these characters wanted to disappear.
The Qu’alls knew drawing attentions was a bad idea. One Qu’ all was the exception to the rule was Holly. Holly was newer to the wall, and more rebellious and outspoken when it came to issues on the wall including the etiquettes of living on the wall. What made Holly’s costume different from the other six Qu’alls was the use of color and how tight her clothes fit. Holly wore a brighter yellow that made here pop among the group, especially when the Millie’s approach their living quarters.
On the opposite end of the feminine character scale, we have “She”. The character She embodies the elite female. A role model to young women of the inner city. She functions like the First Lady of the United States. Her silhouette was inspired by the First Lady. She’s costume palette was very soft and feminine with crisp lines that helped sculp the feminine curves of the actress. The costume for She was the exact opposite of the Qu’alls on all levels. She wore heel, tights, a pencil skirt, blouse, blazer, jewelry, and makeup.
Overall, I designed Nothing but Days with the intent to make distinct groups using different silhouettes. I found that putting women or Qu’alls in loose fitting garments helped distinguish them from the men or Millie’s who wore more structured garments.
Copyright 2016 Akeem Celestine