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Costume Design for Avant Garde Theater: Muazzez

04 Jun

As part of the 2012 Great Plains Theater Conference, I was asked to costume a Mac Wellman play.  It is titled Muazzez, from a larger piece of work called A Chronicle of the Madness of Small Worlds.  This was my first encounter with a Mac Wellman script and I quickly learned that he is infamous for stories that poke fun at our culture using an eclectic set of vocabulary, outlandish themes and heavy underlying topics.  Muazzez lives up to everything I was warned about. It was cool to be asked to costume this avant garde play, because I was also just chosen to present a clothing collection in an avant garde runway show.  Avant garde plays! Avant garde runway shows! Avant garde everything!

Costume illustration for Muazzez.

Muazzez takes over my studio workspace.

Muazzez is about an abandoned cigar factory on another planet.  I assumed that I’d be costuming the people that make up the workforce in the factory, but the actor IS the cigar factory.  I loved that the costuming concept could really go ANY direction: literal, crazy, minimalistic, whatever.  I created an outfit that conveys the “noble king of nothing” personality of the character, but also encompasses the look of my clothing brand.  Because the script creates a costuming opportunity that is so open to interpretation, I decided I could go ahead and infuse my costuming work with my brand’s aesthetic for this project.

Typical Audio Helkuik aesthetic: Accessorizing the accessory.

Stylized handstitching.

I also did makeup design for this production.  The actor’s  neck, fingertips and soles of his feet were to be painted black.  I always do a practice run of the makeup before the day of the show and typically I practice on myself.

Sketch of foot makeup.

Painting my foot for practice.

Painted foot: Muazzez body makeup design

Watching the rehearsals for this production were a treat.  The performance venue, House of Loom, is such a cool space, which is great since we all spent alot of time here working on Muazzez.  Reading scripts, coming up with concepts, creating the outfits and watching them come to life (with a great Gus & Call soundtrack!) is so fun, especially when you get to work with great people along the way.

Watching the Muazzez rehearsals at House of Loom.

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2 responses to “Costume Design for Avant Garde Theater: Muazzez

  1. Cindi

    06.12.12 at 12:33 pm

    Your foot makeup reminds me of the hennaed feet of the women in my husband’s native country of Algeria! Beautiful work.

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    • audiohelkuik

      06.12.12 at 3:24 pm

      Thank you. His blackened soles were one of my favorite details of the costume. Hennaed feet are very beautiful, too.

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