Bill Brewer on Designing Costumes for “Into the Woods”

By Bill Brewer, Costume Designer, Into the Woods 
We all know the fairytales we grew up with. Cinderella and Prince Charming, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf. Sondheim and Lapine have challenged everything we think we know about these fairytales. Into The Woods gives us a happily ever after that isn’t. I wanted to find a way for the characters to move beyond their iconography and become relatable as human beings.
The Wolf
I grew up with these tales during the 1950’s, an idyllic respite in the American story. It was a time between wars and a time when the American Dream reigned supreme. Everyone wanted the perfect life and family; a fairytale existence was yours for the taking if you worked hard and lived right. However history tells us that idealism was short lived. 

The Witch
Viewing the characters through a 1950’s lens allows us a relationship not offered with the removed “once upon a time” approach. In my mind, the woods represent the world; it can be a scary place once we leave the safety of our homes. The world can also be full of adventure! But adventure involves risk and the potential of life altering events. Once we experience the world our lives may never be the same but it is a risk most of us are willing to take.

Red Riding Hood

Want to see more of Bill’s sketches? Check back in later this week!

Come see Into the Woods and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at PlayMakers thru December 7. For tickets, call 919.962.PLAY (7529) or visit our website.