George Orwell’s 1984

Another show which I worked on with the Rose Youth Theatre was a production of George Orwell’s 1984. For this show the performance space was stripped back and there was limited space for costume changes. The directors had a clear vision of the design that they wanted for this piece. The masks were a feature of the costume that had to tie in with the rest of the costumes.

As 1984’s key theme is rebelling from the routine and rules enforced by Big Brother, I leaned towards a uniform approach to the costumes. For the main basis of the costumes I used Decorating uniforms and dyed them into army green and a blue/grey, inspired by French workwear jackets. Then to match the broken people the costumes were broken down and patched together with flashes of red as a crude geometric representation of wounds.

For the three main principle actors I felt they needed to be dressed more in keeping with reality and reflective of the 1940’s time period that the directors had placed the piece in. As Winston grows more and more rebellious throughout the show, layers of clothes are stripped off (duster coat, jacket, shoes, trousers) until he is being interrogated and at his most vulnerable. Julia’s costume remained the same throughout, reflecting her strong and put together attitude.

Images courtesy of Simon Adrians – Tangle Photography (uk)

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