Shakespeare's The Two Gentlemen of Verona, is accredited as being one of his early comedies. It is not as widely popular as Taming of the Shrew or A Midsummer's Night, and is also known "as the comedy with a problem ending", this being the immediate forgiveness of Silvia to Valentine and Julia to Proteus. My initial reaction to this ending was of disgust and wonderment of how a 21st century audience would react to this. The director, Alex Mackenzie, a fellow graduate MA student, approached the script with very strong initial concepts but at the same time her approach was very loose and fluid. She wanted to create a world with a modern feel, yet one that was not divorced from Shakespeare. She saw their world as being off kilter, a world that did not necessarily exist. Costumes in this world would be the main element to bridge the worlds of modern and period. Her definitions of periods for this production were the Renaissance and Romantic. With the set design minimalistic and the lights stylized, my approach was to find costumes that not only fit the character's personalities, but also to bring a connection with the audience to this modern world while maintaining a feel of the shows original roots. Since this play has a sense of a class system of servants and nobles, merging of ideals was necessary to find a safe place to show class in a classless modern society. I planned to mark class distinction in three areas: silhouette, color, and texture, using costume research from Elizabethan England, the ideas of modern high fashion's adaptation of period clothing, and the runway work of high fashion designers, particularly those from Milan, Italy. By combining these elements, I was able to bring a modern look that was not only fashionable, but also intriguing. The sources of inspiration that were under consideration included lace ruffles on shirts, chain mail for the knight, breeches, and Elizabethan collars. Colors were also integral to class distinction through the use of texture and vibrant hues to show upper class.



College and Department

Fine Arts and Communications; Theatre and Media Arts



Date Submitted


Document Type

Selected Project




costume design, costumes, theatre design, Shakespeare, Two Gentlemen of Verona, modern, computer costume rendering