Section 1: Explain Your Understanding
This play is exploring the idea that identity crisis and deception prohibit the characters from finding fulfillment in life. The characters seem to be unsure of who they are and what they want. All of them believe that love will provide the answers that they are looking for. In essence, they search for themselves in other individuals. It is through their endless search for love and affection, and their sexual escapades that the audience learns of this crisis. For instance, Candy is desperate to get married and is frustrated with the men she dates. The only one that came close to winning her over was Robert, who turned out to be married with a child (Fraser, 1993). Even in the end, she is unsure whether she is a lesbian or straight. By comparison, David sleeps around with many men, in strange locations like cars and the dark, but has no real connection. It eventually emerges that he was in love with his best friend, Bernie. Bernie, the serial killer, also turns out to be gay despite being married once. Kane also finds it hard to accept that he is gay until in the end. Jerry, too, seeks fulfillment in Candy and is obsessed with her as if she would be lost without her. Evidently, sexuality has an integral role in identity and search for love. The characters hope that their sexual encounters mean love and could yield stable relationships. In the end, the individuals are frustrated by their partner choices and seem more confused than ever. The characters seek their identities through other people, which backfires on them.
Correspondingly, deception has a role in the identity crisis and the unhappiness the characters face. All the characters are deceptive and manage to fool each other for a long time. Bernie and David even admit that people lie all the time (Fraser, 1993). All the characters are deceptive and use this trait to mask who they really are. Admittedly, Bernie is the master of deception. Bernie carefully hides wickedness through his clothing and debauchery. He manages to convince people that the blood on his shirt and face is from a fight. He even uses his philandering ways to explain that his wife left him. He plays up being normal and okay, and Candy even admits that none of them could have imagined how depraved Bernie was. By comparison, David sleeps around with other men to mask his love for Bernie. Equally, he fails to confront his fall from stardom as he was once a celebrated actor. He states that being a waiter is more interesting and seems irritated that people remember his childhood. On her part, Candy acts like she is over her relationship with Jerry and is straight, and she meets up with Robert, who is a liar. Deception is key to masking pain and failure to these characters. Hiding personal demons becomes important because confronting them means facing one’s fears and true nature. Unfortunately, this deception by everyone affects friendships because people realize that they do not know each other as well as they thought.
Section 3: Explain the Experience That You Want To Create With Your Designs, and Why That Experience Is Important For Your Audience
The costume design will represent the traits of the characters. An essential element of the design is silhouette, which aids in identifying the time period of the play (“Costume designer’s goal”). Given that the film was written in the 1990s, the characters will wear clothes that reflect that era. In this case, baggy jeans with folded hems will be appropriate for the characters, especially in the party scenes. Denim jackets or black leather coats will accompany the jeans. The haircuts will also be tousled, as it was a popular style back in the day. Comparatively, women will wear outfits like knee-high boots, satin dresses, and mesh tops, and chockers.
Although each character will wear outfits suitable for the 1990s, they will be styled differently. Candy, for instance, will mostly wear short satin dresses, that are brightly colored, especially red and pink. Her hair will have a grunge style. She will also wear a lot of leather especially in regards to coats and shoes. High heels and knee-length boots are most appropriate for her. Regarding accessories, she dangling earrings, preferably shiny, and gold necklaces are suitable for her character. Candy will also wear bright make-up and be make-up free when sad. Candy will also wear daring fashion pieces like backless tops, hipsters, fur coats, and midriffs (Locke, 2018). When she feels depressed or tired, she will wear dark toned and loose outfits like loose trousers and baggy shirts without any accessories. Lacy draws like lace trimming bodysuits and lingerie are a staple in Candy’s costumes. Her robes will also be silky and be yellow.
Comparatively, David will wear gold earrings, have an unshaven look. His hair will be spiked. For his work clothes, dull-colored polyester trousers, and woolen shirts. He will also have tank-tops and high sneakers (Govindaraju, 2019). For his casual and party looks, logo tee shirts, printed shirts, baggy blue jeans, and leather coats will be stable. David will mostly wear blue, orange, and yellow colored outfits when going out.
Conversely, Bernie will adorn dull suits and bright-colored clothes. Formal wear will include the classic black suit made from worsted and cotton fabrics. For casual wear, he will don baggy jeans and shirts, preferably white, and leather coats (Govindaraju, 2019). His main accessories include a watch and his wedding ring. His hair will be combed back on official occasions like when he is going to work, but will have the wet locks appearance for other occasions. Bernie’s casual clothes will also be brightly colored like green and yellow.
Kane’s costumes will be more reserved. He will wear woolen trousers and shirts for work. Casually, he will wear cashmere coats, nicely-pulled back hair. Once in a while, he will wear jeans and a leather coat. However, he will retain a clean-shaven appearance.
Benita will adorn daring clothes. Just like Candy, she will wear short silky dresses that are dull colored. She will also have free-flowing dark hair. She will wear gothic make-up and a lot of accessories. Most of her clothes will be dark-colored even though they will be daring, such as her backless tops, crop tops, spandex (Locke, 2018). She too will have lingerie and other erotic innerwear. Her shoes will include high heels, bhindis, and kickers. Even though she will wear provocative outfits, she will also wear jeans and cotton tee shirts and sneakers. Benita’s wardrobe will be diverse and incorporate laid back and erotic clothes and make-up.
Jerri will be reserved. Her clothes will mostly be woolen. She will wear skirts that are slightly below the knees simple high heels. Her make-up will also be very minimal and her accessories few. For casual wear, she will don denim trousers, cotton tops, and furry coats.
Robert’s appearance will portray preservation. Forthwith, his clothes will be dressed in worsted suits that are dull colored. His clean-shaven look will include laid-back hair and well-cut beard. Even so, he will own a denim jacket, which he will wear when cold.
Effect on Spectator
The clothes will impact how the spectators view the characters. A character like Candy portrays a dare-devil attitude. The choice of red and pink colors portray her as a passionate and loving person (Baker, 2016). Given that she seeks love throughout the film, the color suits her best. She also appears like a hippy and fun-loving individual given her choice of clothes. Candy also shows too much skin, which depicts her love for her body, as even works out to keep it in shape. The skimpy clothes also allude to get attention from potential lovers. As a very sexual lady, her choice of innerwear suit her character. Benita also has the same style, as she is a sensual being, but has a psychic element to her. Candy and Benita share the same fashion interests.
The women also have contrasting traits as portrayed by their clothes. Candy and Jerry are opposites. Jerry is a reserved individual, who keeps to herself while Candy is outgoing. The audience should view this difference as one of the reasons why these two were attracted to each other in the first place, even though they share similar interests. Again, Benita is a weird individual. Her gothic and dull appearance depicts a woman who is consumed by dark thoughts of death as she frequently shares death-related stories. Benita is also a sexually daring individual as she even lets Bernie undress her and nearly even sleeps with him. With the aid of the costumes, the audience can tell the character of the women.
Equally, the men share some similarity as depicted by their costumes. They all wear dull colored suits, which is in line with work, as most occupations shun bright colors. David and Bernie wear bright colors like orange, green, and blue. The colors depict loyalty, which the two have for each other. The denim, jeans, and leather coats make them appear fashionable and outgoing. Similarly, Kane and Robert almost have the same appearance. Their apparels depict reserved individuals, which they are, for the most of the play.
There also exist notable differences. David gives the impression of an adventurous individual. His hair, piercings, and accessories depict him as a cool person that is mostly cheerful. He also looks like an entertainer, which was once his profession. On the other hand, Bernie’s suits make his appear successful, given that he is into business. The bright colors he chooses are also a warning sign, as he hides his dark activities from other people. His casual appearance also makes him the bad boy appearance, which turns out to be his true nature. In essence, the clothes depict irony as he portrays success and peace, yet he is a murderer. Kane is a reserved person. His appearance speaks to confusion and secrecy. He also looks like he is wealthy, which is the case as he comes from a wealthy family. Robert looks like a man that is willing to settle down and start a family from his costumes. Looking at him, the audience will view him as a stable man, and even understand why Candy is very drawn to him.
The characters’ outfits are useful in aiding the audience to understand the themes of the story. From their appearances, they can conclude that there is a lot of sexuality. Concerning secrecy and lies, the audience can also conclude that looks can be deceiving. The costumes also bring back the feeling of the 1990s, as the characters will be clad in fashion appropriate for that era. The colors are also open to interpretations from the audience, as they will conclude how the use of the same color may have varying meanings in one or more scenes.
Connection with Understanding
The costumes depict deception. Bernie hides his sinister activities behind his bright, casual clothes and his formal suits. From all appearances, he looks like a successful person who has a regular job. He also the quintessential bad boy as noted by his casual appearances. Candy also looks like a put-together lady, who is not ready to settle down. She looks like a vain woman at best and a prostitute at worst. Her obsession with her body, which she shows off masks desperation and desire to be loved. In fact, her wild looks make her the perfect target for Robert, who has a sexual fling with her because she looks like the type that likes to sleep around and have no commitments. Beneath the surface, she is a lonely woman who only wants someone who will respect and love her for who she is. Candy also masks her prejudice toward lesbians. She describes her encounter with Jerry as something that should have never happened and is afraid of facing her the morning after they have slept together (Fraser, 1993). She denounces the affair and bitterly rejects Jerry. Correspondingly, Jerry looks like a respectable young lady, who could even qualify to be pious. Instead, she is a nervous wreck who finds it hard to accept candy’s rejection. She stalks her, confronts her, and hopes that Candy will one day reciprocate her affections towards her.
Deception is also notable in Robert, David, and Kane. Robert comes off as a decent person from his clothes, yet he is a user. One may think that he is decent and family-oriented as he wears nice suits and does not even own a leather jacket, which is considered hippy. It is this image that enables him to conceal his philandering ways when he pursues Candy. On his part, David looks like a man that lives for good times. However, his stylish exterior masks a confused individual that is also looking for love and is afraid (Fraser, 1993). David seems sure of himself, but the reality is that he fears falling in love with men. Worse still, he is afraid that he is in love with his friend. Kane also hides behind his good boy exterior. In truth, he struggles to accept that he is gay and loves David. One may feel that he is a normal teenager, who is well-behaved. Instead, he partakes in sexual acts and partying, which contradict his seemingly-perfect appearance.
Evidently, there is an identity crisis. The costumes of the characters mostly differ from who they are. The only person who lives up to her appearance is Benita. Indeed, she is a queer lady, who can tell that Bernie is the serial killer that has been terrorizing the women in the city. All others dress the complete opposite of their true selves. Their outfits mask both their insecurities and reflect the people these individuals idealize. For instance, David is confused and lonely within, yet his costume tells of a social person. Jerry also looks like a self-respecting individual, but she views that her purpose in life is to be with Candy, who she pursues relentlessly.
Section 4: Conclusion
The designs were integral to fostering my understanding of the play. My understanding is that the characters have no sense of identity and use deception, both of which prove detrimental to their happiness. Notably, the costume designs depict symbolism and deception. For women like Candy and Jerry, they are nothing like they seem, and they also mask their feelings. Candy dresses sexually because she wants to attract a lover and even project confidence. Candy seems to believe that being sexy and having sex is the recipe for love and happiness, hence her provocativeness. However, she is a desperate woman who wants to get married to a decent man. Bernie, the master of deception also masks his serial killing activities because he looks too proper to commit such acts. He is the picture of a regular citizen who wants to work and also have fun. Interestingly, the costumes the characters wear are designed to attract the people the actors want. Candy dresses to attract suitors. Equally, David’s cool appearance would make him a suitable match for other gays. Robert and Jerry’s decent apparels lure in Candy. Kane’s naïve and elegant appearance makes David curious about him. In the end, each fall victim to the other because they think that the answers to their identity lie in their prospective lovers.
Baker, L. (2016). Manipulating the Audience’s Emotions with Color. The Beat. Retrieved from https://www.premiumbeat.com/blog/manipulate-emotions-with-color-in-film/
Costume Designer’s goal. (n.d). GENESEO: The State University of New York. https://www.geneseo.edu/~blood/CostumeDesign1.html
Fraser, B. (1993). Love and Human Remains. Canada: Blizzard Publications.
Govindaraju, S. (2019). 90s Men’s Fashion: The Iconic 90s Trends That’ll Make You Nostalgic. Shilpa. Retrieved from https://shilpaahuja.com/90s-mens-fashion/
Locke, A. (2018). 90s Fashion: The Trends We All Rocked. Look Magazine. Retrieved from https://www.look.co.uk/fashion/90s-fashion-the-trends-we-all-rocked-42839#fvv0Da1OD85A2zAP.99