A Costume Designer's Perspective 
by Rachel Stivers

As a designer, what is your process in creating the look for the characters and the show?
I always like to work closely with the actors to help me really shape who the characters are inside and out. I believe that the way we all dress is a very specific and emotional expression of who we are and what is going on in our lives. When I shop for costumes, I don’t only think specifically about what I need for the show, but what each character might just have in their closet. I feel like this creates the most realistic look for every character. I’m not worried that anything is going to stick out as stagey or contrived because I've built everyone’s looks from the character up.

Cowboy Versus Samurai costume renderings

What do you hope audience members will take away from watching Cowboy Versus Samurai?
Clothes are a strong indicator of time and place. I want to make sure that when the audience sits down, they feel like they are really looking at people from Wyoming, and are really watching them change over several months. This can be as obvious as having someone wearing a coat when it’s supposed to be cold out, or as subtle as having characters wear well-worn clothes to indicate socio-economic status or emotional status. 

This is your third production with Artists at Play. What do you enjoy most about working with AAP?
One of the things I really love about working with Peter Kuo is that he is really committed to the play feeling real. Every element in the show supports the truth of the others and ultimately I think this makes the message of the play come through. Artist at Play always chooses really thought-provoking works and I hope that the better I do my job, to create a real sense of time passing, character development, and place, the better those thoughts are provoked.

Get your tickets to Cowboy Versus Samuraibeginning September 26 and running through October 20. For tickets:

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