CORIOLANUS B E HIN D T HE SC ENE S THE SET
million choices,” she explains. “So the important thing is that you make sure the story itself is being told.” To that end, part of Clayden’s design will show the contrast between the different classes of Rome. The upper-class characters will wear costumes that are new and elegant, with a minimalist feel. The lower-class Romans, however, are starving; their costumes will be made of cast-offs that are broken down and threadbare to reflect their desperation and poverty. Clayden will dress the central character, Coriolanus, primarily in military garb because, as Clayden observes, “I think she feels most comfortable on a battlefield. She is a character of action.”
This production of Coriolanus is set in a world at war with itself. “It is Rome,” explains Set Designer Pam Johnson, “but not the Roman Republic. It is a Rome deconstructed.” To support that sense of unease, and the modern-day dystopia envisioned by Director Dean Paul Gibson, Johnson’s set will take advantage of the structure of the tent: “I’m exposing the trusses of the tent, so the set will have a hard, metallic quality.” Distressed flooring and canvas screens join with the visible trusses to help create the backdrop of a world in conflict. The screens will also work in concert with Projection Designer Jamie Nesbitt’s images, to help move the audience through the story’s multiple locations – which include a barricade, the Roman legislature and the walls of Rome.
THE SOUND DESIGN After years of working together on over a dozen productions, Composer and Sound Designer Alessandro Juliani and Director Dean Paul Gibson have developed an almost intuitive process of collaboration. This process is at the heart of Juliani’s design for Coriolanus. His original music and sound for the production is meant to sonically represent the world imagined by Gibson: a world of contrasts, where the poor battle the rich, the old battle the young, and unity seems impossible. For example, the music of the Volscians is inspired by folk music and evokes a place that is rustic and rural. The music of the Romans, by contrast, is more formal and evokes a place that is organized and sophisticated— Coriolanus’ but to a fault. Panabas Throughout the design, Juliani has looked for opportunities for “beautiful discordancy”, to reflect this fragmented society.
Coriolanus’ costume sketch by Barbara Clayden
Setting Coriolanus in a not-too-distant future presented an exciting challenge for Costume Designer Barbara Clayden. “Because it’s not based in a specific time period, you have a 40