Dressing up the Nightingale - Liz Martin & Pink Depford Designs

 Feng (Isabel To) and Long (Christopher Juan)

Feng (Isabel To) and Long (Christopher Juan)

Note to self: when you write a show featuring a cast of 16 out of which 13 of those actors have two or more costume changes, and when that same show has not one, but TWO fashion show scenes in it, you better be sure you have a damn, good costume designer and team in your corner. Amazingly, that is exactly what I have for The Song of the Nightingale.

Yesterday was our costume parade, and I was blown away by what Costume Designer Liz Martin and her team at Pink Depford Designs have created. Wait - I need to emphasize that last word: created. In the East Bay world of locally produced theatre, costumes are rarely created (I can't tell you how many times I've sat in the audience, looked on stage and said "I've worn those pants before!"). But for Nightingale, we are getting to see costumes that have never been seen - anywhere! Keep that in mind when you come see the show!

I won't give away too much, but Liz and her team were able to use historical Chinese garb as the springboard for pieces with modern touches and imaginative surprises. This was important to me as the show itself whimsically straddles history and fantasy. The costumes are vibrant, eye-catching and will play an undeniably large role in the storytelling. And some of the outfits are just downright beautiful.

 "Brown is in!" (Ji-Yun Kim, Lindsay Hirata, Naomi Davis, Miyoko Sakatani)

"Brown is in!" (Ji-Yun Kim, Lindsay Hirata, Naomi Davis, Miyoko Sakatani)

In spite of the heavy load of work and the long hours it has taken to get to this point, Liz told me that she and her team still had a lot of fun putting the pieces together. They enjoyed letting their creative juices flow while at the same time considering the reality of budget and logistical limitations. I once read somewhere that creativity bursts forth more vigorously in the face of constraints. And the costumes for The Song of the Nightingale are no exception. I am so thankful to have such passionate and talented collaborators. They truly are giving the small, brown bird her wings - and her own line of clothing.