First Look: Renderings of the Magical Costumes in The Old Globe’s ‘As You Like It’

In these renderings from Costume Designer David Israel Reynoso, get a first look at the prestigious and magical world of Shakespeare's "As You Like It"

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Costume rendering from The Old Globe's "As You Like It."
David Israel Reynoso/The Old Globe
Costume Designer David Israel Reynoso and Director Jessica Stone started off thinking about an 18th-century look for "As You Like It." But they quickly shifted their focus to the early 1730s and 1740s, Reynoso explained.
David Israel Reynoso/The Old Globe
The era directly precedes the epitome of Marie Antoinette excess. “It's not all that unbelievable fluffery and excess and enormous wigs. It's a bit more edited. You get the amazing silhouettes and fabrics, but it's a more streamlined aesthetic,” Reynoso said.
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The era fit well, Reynoso said, for a number of reasons. The period encompasses the backdrop to the French Revolution, and it’s a time when people are questioning what is important to society and what makes someone noble or not – a theme that Shakespeare’s play also touches on.
David Israel Reynoso/The Old Globe
There are two distinct worlds in “As You Like It,” Reynoso explained: the world of the court, and the world of Arden, the forest.
David Israel Reynoso/The Old Globe
One element of the set design for Arden makes the forest feel icy and cold, Reynoso said. It’s a piece he embraced when designing the costumes. “They’re excessive to some extent, in the fact that they speak to what you might assume wealth and money is,” Reynoso said. “But it’s not entirely inviting in that the colors tend to be a little bit more cold.”
David Israel Reynoso/The Old Globe
In the other world, the Court, audiences will find elements of the outdoors hidden amongst the costumes. “You have everyone adorned in the elements of what would be the outdoors: florals, botanicals, more in decor, more artificial,” Reynoso said. “There’s a color to them, more autumnal and wintery.”
David Israel Reynoso/The Old Globe
By the end of the play, Reynoso said, when everyone is outdoors celebrating, the costumes change. “When we do end up in what is truly the outdoors and we have a celebration, the colors there feel more vibrant and wild in a way that nature does that. it doesn’t feel as manmade,” Reynoso said. “There's an exuberance and freedom to the clothes.”
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Over the course of designing the costumes, Reynoso said, there have been both happy and unexpected surprises. Costumes may need to be tweaked and altered slightly when all the elements of the play come into place, including sets and lights. “We're finding that in some places we have to pull back on the saturation of color, because it goes into something that feels more excessive,” Reynoso said. “Then there are places where we find, okay, that’s looking like we need to ramp up some saturation and color.”
A costumer designer should be a three-dimensional illustrator for the story, Reynoso said. He wants his costumes to serve the story. “Certainly, there are times people can make assumptions about Shakespeare being something that they do not feel like they have the ability to access,” Reynoso said. “I think that what’s wonderful is, when you have the ability to give [the story] a visual pallet, you are responsible for interpreting these words in what way that then captures the beauty of what is being said.”
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Costume design isn’t strictly decorative, Reynoso said, contrary to what some might think. “It's way more than that,” he said. “There's a lot of levels to try and understand the character, I work very closely with the director and the performer to make sure that it feels the character is being captured authentically.”
David Israel Reynoso/The Old Globe
Shakespeare's "As You Like It." The play runs at The Old Globe's outdoor theater from June 16 to July 21.
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