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Monday, November 11, 2013

The Fashion of Fierceness: Designing Strength by Courtney Boches

Courtney Boches, Theatre MA student and costume designer for Villanova's upcoming production of Everyman (opening this Wednesday!), spills about building one of the many INCREDIBLE costume elements present in this show.  

COURTNEY: Everyman is a visually fascinating, but complicated show.  When thinking about how to explain it in a concise (and mostly spoiler-free!) blog, I thought the most interesting thing to do would be to take you on a journey for one piece.  Here's an inside scoop on Strength, particularly his headpiece, from inspiration to completion.

COURTNEY:  One of the first things that happened early in the process of designing Everyman was a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City to see the new exhibit "PUNK: Chaos to Couture."  Much of the inspiration for the show grew from that trip and the pieces featured at the museum and in the accompanying book that the Met published.

COURTNEY:  When thinking about the character of Strength, one of my initial ideas was to explore a military theme.  His jacket evolved out of that thought, and the detail on his shoulders is meant to recall the armor of medieval knights.  This was an attempt to bring in aspects of the time in which the original play was written.

COURTNEY:  Another thing that I did early on in the process was to research and identify all of the punk "stereotypes" that should be incorporated, like safety pins, tartan fabrics, use of found objects, and, of course, the mohawk.  It made sense to me that the mohawk should be worn by Strength - an imposing hair style for an imposing character.  

COURTNEY:  I also wanted the mohawk to evoke the feeling of a helmet, both of knights and other military eras.  I was particularly interested in the plumes found on helmets of various eras - Greek, Roman, and even the metal pieces that run down the center of medieval knight helmets.  To me, the mohawk was the perfect modern punk interpretation of this classic military style.

COURTNEY:  Our undergraduate work-study students had fun using papier-mache to construct this awesome headpiece.  We won't give away all the details of Strength's headpiece or any other fabulous costume here - you'll just have to come to a performance of Everyman to see the finished product!  It's been an honor and a phenomenal learning experience for me as a student to work on this production and I couldn't be prouder of what we're presenting onstage.

The costumes in this show are to die for!  Come see Courtney's breathtaking design in Villanova Theatre's production of Everyman, running from November 13th-24th.  For ticket information, call the box office at (610) 519-7474, or visit

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