Shakespeare costumes exhibit in France

May 27, 2014, 7:48 AM EDT
Right: Costume by Yannis Kokkos for Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, opera by Verdi directed by Antoine Vitez, Palais Garnier, 1987; Left : Costume by Thierry Mugler for Hecate in Macbeth Tragedy, directed by Jean-Pierre Vincent, Avignon Festival.
(Coll. cncs / OnP (right); Comédie-Française, 1985 (left))

To celebrate the 450th anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare, the Centre national du costume de scène et de la scénographie in Moulins, France, is organizing an exhibition of more than one hundred costumes from performances of his plays over the last century.

“Shakespeare, the fabric of the world” draws on the different facets of the celebrated playwright’s universe from the costume of Petruccio in The Taming of the Shrew adapted by Paul Delair for the Comédie-Française in 1891 to the recent 2012 production of Richard III designed by Jenny Tiramani for the Globe Theatre in London.

Visitors will explore the worlds of Shakespeare’s kings, queens, buffoons, simple soldiers, witches and more through a mix of historic and contemporary costumes that also offer windows onto the history of stage arts. The exhibition includes costumes worn by Gérard Desartheas Hamlet, Robert Hirsch as Richard III, Gérard Philipe and Georges Bigot’s Richard II and Maria Casarès as Lady Macbeth, amongst others.

A reconstruction of a theater costume workshop will showcase work from the conception to the realization, including documents showing communications between stage directors and costume designers.

Some of the highlights will include a velvet dress with painted lace motifs designed for the production of Romeo and Juliet in a staging by Jean Cocteau, a dress with extravagant hoops worn by Lady Macbeth, designed by Thierry Mugler for a production directed by Jean-Pierre Vincent, along with the models by Jean Vilar of his legendary Macbeth production for the Avignon Festival and the Théâtre National Populaire.

The exhibition will run from Jun 14, to January, 2015.

-- Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop