Virginia Varland

Costume Design

a room with a view

Self-Adapted from the Novel by E.M. Forster

Theoretical Design             

I adapted this piece from E.M. Forster’s 1908 novel A Room with a View. The novel is as much about Forster’s own self-exploration as Lucy’s, thus the narrative lens of the production is an art curator in the likeness of Forster himself. Exterior, but not peripheral to the world of the play, the narrator frames the characters as pieces of art that the audience must form their own opinions on, just as Lucy learns to form her own point of view. Initially, Lucy relies on her guidebook and the opinions of her well-wishers to validate her feelings and actions. Her development is traced through her candid reactions to art and life, often similar in style to the focus and movement of impressionistic paintings.

The costumes strive to create a world through Lucy’s eyes as she encounters her surroundings. I drew inspiration from travel sketch journals, most notably Whistler’s travel sketches from Italy and London. Against a compressed palette of browns, Lucy's interests appear in more vivid color as gestures of movement and life: lively darts of color that stand out against complex blotches of brown.