Plays as source of inspiration for costume design: A case study of Lysistrata stage production by performing arts and film students of Makerere University 2012
Nassanga, Faridah Muhammed
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In this era when Uganda is experiencing a dramatic transformation in the theatre or entertainment industry; understanding and relating costumes to character in enhancing the message of the play/performance is increasingly becoming important. This is particularly important since costumes play a big role in visual narrative. The study sought to establish the possibilities of producing costume designs inspired by characters of a selected play as well as exploring why costume designs used in Uganda’s theatre seem not to enhance communication. In order to achieve this purpose the study was guided by the following objectives: 1. To underscore the role of costume design for stage production by performing arts and film students of Makerere University. 2. To analyse the current trend and content of costume design in Uganda’s theatre industry, case of Lysistrata stage play by PAF students of 2012. 3. To produce costume designs inspired by characters in Lysistrata play. 4. To establish if the produced costumes enhance the message conveyance of selected characters in Lysistrata play. The study focuses on selected characters in Lysistrata, a Greek classical play by Aristophanes, which was performed by the students of Performing Arts and Film, Makerere University in April 2012. The study was descriptive in nature and both quantitative and qualitative approaches were used. Several instruments of data collection were used to advance the research findings. These included: Questionnaires, literature review, observation, interviews and videos of the recorded plays, which inspired the studio work. The outcome was construction of costumes inspired by Lysistrata, a drama production by the Performing Arts and Film students of Makerere University 2012, in a bid to enhance and convey the intended message of the script in regard to the costumes worn by the characters. The study found out that the majority of the respondents knew the purpose and the meaning of the word costumes and most respondents observed that the costumes did not enhance the message and quality of the play they had watched. The study therefore recommends that visual artist and performing artist are inseparable hence none of the two can work in isolation in regard to stage play productions. The performing artist should recognize the role of visual artist in the pre productions and the issue of costumes not enhancing the message and quality of the play will not continue. The study further recommends that the University should establish interdisciplinary learning that would require students of drama to share some relevant courses with the fine art students. In conclusion, unless urgent attention is paid to the recognition of the role of visual artists (costume designers) in the pre productions of the performing artists, the issue of costumes not enhancing the content and context of the play will continue.