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Saturday, September 23, 2017

10:00 AM

North Regional Library 
1315 Lowry Avenue North, Minneapolis (We will meet in the meeting room on the second level of North Regional Library.)

To Be or Not to Be: Historical Costume Design for Shakespeare's Henry IV with Virgil Johnson

In 2006 the Chicago Shakespeare Theater presented Parts 1 and 2 of William Shakespeare's "King Henry the Fourth" in Chicago, followed by a transfer to the Swan Theater at Stratford-upon-Avon in England.

This ambitious project, directed by CST Artistic Director Barbara Gaines, garnered praise in both the Chicago and London press. The challenge for our speaker in designing costumes for these famous history plays was the director's charge that the production should "look contemporary and historical." So what would this production look like? Researching British fashion of the early 15th Century and current men's wear seen on the fashion runways in Milan resulted in vibrant designs for these plays. The entire show was purchased and/or constructed. The designs came alive in fittings with input from the actors and costume staff. The director's admonition that it looks "too historical" or "too modern" was a daily concern.

This lecture will discuss the plays, the War of the Roses, the central theme of kingship, and the dramatic imagination necessary to create a "world for these plays." 

Virgil Johnson is a professor emeritus of Northwestern University. He has designed costumes for drama, opera, and musical theater for 45 years.

Please NOTE the new temporary location for our fall meetings. We will be back in the Washburn Library in January.

Guests are always welcome. There is no admission charge for our meetings.