Our 2012/2013 season here at Arena features an array of bold and inspiring women, both on the stage and behind the scenes. At present Kathleen Turner is lighting up the Kogod Cradle each evening, keeping the humor and wisdom of Molly Ivins alive in Red Hot Patriot. In just a few weeks, we look forward to what will surely be night after night of electrifying music as Mary Bridget Davies embodies Janis Joplin in One Night with Janis Joplin. Later in the season, the spirited flower girl Eliza Doolittle will sing (and, of course, speak with all her focus, precision, and might) in our production of My Fair Lady, directed by Molly Smith. Joining the ranks of our female leads in March, Mary Todd Lincoln and her seamstress Elizabeth Keckly will take center stage in Tazewell Thompson’s Mary T. and Lizzy K. The list of leading ladies goes on and on...
Inspired by these women, we are excited to announce the contest ISN’T SHE LOVERLY: DESIGN IN BLOOM. This is a two-part costume and floral event, which will begin in November with a display in the café rock garden of 25 signature costumes worn by female leads in past Arena productions. Then, taking a leaf out of Eliza Doolittle’s book (or basket, if you will), we will invite 25 local florists to create floral arrangements inspired by these costumes, which will be on display alongside the costumes from November 30th-December 2nd, 2012. The public is invited to enjoy this exciting combination of costume and floral design, which will, in many senses, bring the lobby to life.
Each participating florist will be assigned one costume that will serve as the inspiration for their design. We are all eager to find out how they will translate their outfits into the floral medium, and our excitement here at the start of the process comes in the form of questions about all we might see. Will there be wreathes and archways? Interesting vases, corsages, and maybe even a lei? Will the participants draw on the color, texture and other design elements of their assigned costume? Will they dig deeper to investigate the world from which the outfit comes, taking the era and region of the play into consideration as they select their flowers? The possibilities seem endless!
To the promise of a lobby literally blooming with flowers and dresses in the midst of autumn, we add the excitement of competition. On November 30, a panel of judges from around the community will review the floral designs and select a Grand Prize winner and two runners up.
Literary and costume staff will be on hand throughout the process to provide the florists with information on each costume and the production in which it was featured. We will also be sure to post updates on the contest here on Stage Banter. In that spirit, we hope you will enjoy the pictures below from our recent trip to Arena's off-site costume stock, where we explored decades’ worth of costumes and—with difficulty—made the final selection of 25. Ranging from a 1950s wedding dress to a chainmail ensemble, the line-up of costumes represents countless eras, styles, and regions of past Arena shows. You can expect sequins, hoop skirts, feathers, fur coats, cowboy boots, and of course, flowers galore. Stay tuned for more news on ISN’T SHE LOVERLY: DESIGN IN BLOOM!