Man of La Mancha
Dale Wasserman, Joe Darion
and Mitch Leigh
University of North Carolina School of the Arts
Graduate Costume Design
The color story of the costumes mirrors the play. First to appear are the Inquisition Captain and his guards in grays, steely blues, and blacks. The first bits of bright color arrive with Cervantes, and as Quixote’s world becomes more immersive, the tones become more vibrantly saturated.
Cervantes' and his Man Servant's clothes are valuable, making them a prime target for thievery. In tones of blue and gold, they are are out of place amongst the prisoners, who are in dingy browns and greens and burnt oranges.
Halter-cut leather vests transition to harnesses as two prisoners become Quixote's horse and Sancho's mule.
I had used crown masks in a children's theatre production of the play, allowing the children's faces to be seen when their heads were lifted.
Another prisoner becomes Maria, the Innkeeper's wife.
The concept for Maria was inspired by
The Old Peasant Woman
by Giacomo Ceruti
Aldonza, the strumpet of the inn, (costumed in peelable layers) becomes the pure and virginal Dulcinea in Quixote's eyes.
Her fiery orange and rose palette is exclusionary with bits of cerulean that tie her to the world of the inn.
Aldonza's shawl is thrown over her head during the Abduction.
As other characters with competing agendas take sides, the palette for the Barber and the Padre reflects their neutrality.
The Padres belt, sleeve interest, and caul echo his prisoner's costume.
Similar repetitions of style are a design theme used throughout.
Quixote's family and retainers shift from maroons to royal magentas, elevating their status and power. The "Duke" of the prison becomes Dr. Carrasco, and two other prisoners become Quixote's niece and housekeeper.
Costumed with hats, and textured vests, kerchiefs, and sashes produced from Cervantes', trunk; a band of prisoners become the Muleteers.
The Knight of the Mirrors and his attendants, in icy grays and blacks, razor sharp emblems, and pointed armor, destroy Quixote's fantasy by forcing him to see the reality of his life, "in black and white."
The palette returns full circle to the that of Cervantes captors from the beginning of the play.