Just me talking about costume-y kind of stuff
Directed by Jamie Lloyd
Costumes and Scenery by Mark Thompson
She Stoops to Conquer, by Oliver Goldsmith, is a Restoration comedy. I've only ever designed this play as a project in grad school, but I would love to do it for real. The only Restoration comedy I've designed for MCC so far has been Beaux Stratagem. If you're not familiar with the plot, the story revolves around Mr. Hardcastle trying to get his daughter Kate married off to his friend's son, Mr. Marlow. Mr. Marlow is exceedingly shy and awkward around upper class "ladies", but exceedingly talkative and flirty with lower class "tarts". Kate tricks Marlow into thinking she's a house maid in order to get on with the courtship. Only once he's ensnared by her charming banter and good looks, is the trick revealed. There's two subplots involving Kate and Marlow's best friends, Constance and Hastings, who are also in love but do not have permission to marry, and Kate's step-brother, Tony Lumpkin, who wants his inheritance so he can spend it at the pub and date the buxom tavern wench Bet Bouncer, rather than marry Constance to keep her inheritance in the family like his mother Mrs. Hardcastle (the widow of Mr. Lumpkin) wants him to do. Of course everything works out and the three couples end up together, after five acts of scheming, sneaking, and running away, not to mention a jewel heist.
All photos credit: National Theatre and Marc Brenner.
The scenery changes for each act with the major advantage of having a revolve in the Olivier stage.
Act 1, 3, and 5 are set in the drawing room of the Hardcastle's home, Liberty Hall. There are comfy arm chairs and a roaring fire. It's exactly how I pictured the Gryffindor common room of the Harry Potter series would look like. Act 2 takes place in the Three Pigeons Tavern where Tony Lumpkin hangs out with his drunken friends and Bet Bouncer. Act 4 is in the grounds outside the Hardcastle's home near the horse pond. Mrs. Hardcastle falls into the horse pond and enters stage wet, muddy, and looking like she tramped through a swamp to get there.
The costumes are all appropriately mid-18th Century. Kate is kept in pink, while Constance is kept in yellow. Marlow is also in yellow, while Hastings is in blue and pink. Tony and his mother are both kept in green, while Mr. Hardcastle is in dark browns tending toward the burgundy in Act I, then changes his dressing gown and cap, for his powdered wig and green frock coat in Act 3. Mr. Hardcastle dresses a bit plainer than the young lovers, while Mrs. Hardcastle is more extravagant. Tony Lumpkin's clothes are shabby and rough, like they've had a few too many, survived a bar fight, then were slept in for a few days afterwards. Indeed, at one point, he sloshes a mug of ale all down his shirt front. He's a mess. The aristocrats are obviously more colorful and fashionable than the servants. The servants costumes tend toward the earth color spectrum, while at the same time being faded and of plainer fabrics. Every character has only one costume with the exception of Kate, who changes into her plainer dress as her maid disguise, complete with white mob cap and apron. The only problem I had with that costume was the very large zig zag print on the fabric. It felt a little too modern and stood out from the rest of the fabrics that were used in the show.