Julius Caesar Set Design

The following images were provided by the production’s Scenic Designer, Mark Evancho, to show his process in creating the set model.

The above image is a photograph of Scenic Designer Mark Evancho’s set model.

Initial Design Process for Julius Caesar

Initial Conversations. This lithograph print by M. C. Escher titled “Relativity” (1953), brought in to design meetings by Scenic Designer Mark Evancho, helped us begin conversations about paradox, uncertainty, and familiar visual elements that become disjointed and disquieting.
Deconstruction in Fashion. What is a visual world analogous to our favorite Escher image?? Costume Designer Mira Veikley explored the concept of “Deconstruction” in a fashion context, finding images of the familiar, dismantled and reassembled into new ideas that are both enticing and unsettling.
Evocative Images. The text of Julius Caesar is filled with rich evocative imagery, which Veikley converted to a series of visuals to help explore a color/texture pallet for the production. Following the story from left to right, each piece of this collage corresponds to a particular moment or scene within the play.
Creating Our Own Deconstructed Landscape. Director Cheryl Faraone wanted the design for this production to be everywhere and nowhere, both familiar and alien. So for our deconstructed world, Veikley pulled images of menswear from the 16th Century to present day, cut them up, and collaged them with evocative images to create her own visual language. From left to right: A Senator, The Ghost of Julius Caesar, A Soldier.

Moving from Theory to Reality: Building Costumes for Julius Caesar

Fabric & Trim Shopping. Once the designs are finalized, we hunt for fabric and trim options suitable for the costumes we plan on building. This process happens locally and online. Time allowing, we request samples from far-away vendors. Shopping locally gives us the opportunity to see the options in person and decide more quickly. 
Pulling from Existing Costume Stock. Once colors have been chosen, the designer looks through existing costume storage and collects items that might be altered to fit the aesthetic of the current production. Special attention is paid to the size of garments in relation to the actors who might be wearing them.
Creating Patterns for Built Pieces. Carol Wood, Costume Shop Director, drafts a pattern for the base layer. For this production, “deconstructed” shirts were being built for every actor.
The Base Layers in Process. Pictured here, several of the base layers under construction. This piece would act as a layer over which additional pulled costume items could be added. The white shirt was for Caesar, while the darker shirts were for the conspirators.
Stitching the Pieces Together. Students from the Production Studio class displaying their stitching handiwork! They helped with pattern alteration, cutting, finishing edges, and stitching, all indispensable skills in costume. (L to R: Celina Julia Hofstadt, Deen Legesse, Tre Stephens, Oshin Bista, Katie Concannon, Gad Kibet. Not pictured: Bella Costantino-Carrigan, Christi Woldemdhin).

Experimenting with Looks. Before first fittings, Costume Designer Mira Veikley uses a combination of built and pulled items layered and styled to create a head to toe look, specific to each character and scene. Only two fittings had been completed when students left campus due to Covid-19, and work began on our “Zoom” Production.

The Middlebury Costume Shop in the Time of Covid-19

On March 12, 2020, the last in-person spring classes were held in the costume shop. Since then, the Costume Shop has been making protective face masks for Middlebury College students, employees, and Porter Hospital. Armed with mask-making instructions from Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and the generous support from President Laurie Patton’s own discretionary funds, staff, faculty, and friends of MIDD’s Department of Theatre have produced 2,321 in just a few weeks.

Besides sourcing the hard-to-come-by cotton, flannel, and coveted elastic, materials must be pre-washed, pressed, cut, and distributed to sewers.
After sewing, all masks get laundered one last time, size marked, and bagged by 2 for distribution. 
Robin Foster Cole, Associate Costume Shop Director, proudly shows off her handy work, after spending a long day cutting and sewing masks in the costume shop. Our group’s skills range from sewing a face-ready mask in 3 minutes to learning more about sewing through this project. Some have become quite skilled at quickly marking mask sizes and bagging; others are now specialists at the side pleats.
All have selflessly donated their time to this necessary project at keeping Vermont healthy and safe! Thanks to everyone involved!!