Stuart Drama Paper

Stuart Drama Paper

Jonathan Lopez

James Armstrong

Theater History II

Section S


            The Country Wife, a play of wit, manipulation, and trickery among its cast of characters needs a modern production which I have the honor of designing the concept. There are three main areas that I will focus on which are the set, actors, and costumes. When discussing the set, I will talk about the location where the play will happen and the type of stage it will be performed on.  Next, for the actors, I will talk about how the cast was chosen and why as I would like to give this a double meaning which I will discuss later. As for the costumes, I will go with a modern style of fashion and give color value to the cast to reflect their personality. I want to focus on these aspects specifically as I feel it is what best captures the feeling of being part of the play, whether you are an actor/actress or an audience member. Since this is a modern play outside of its native home, I also wanted to use this an opportunity to send out a message about today’s society and its standards but in a subtle way as I don’t want that to be the first thing that pops into people’s minds when discussing it but still be present.

The set of the play is a critical part of a performance as it gives us an idea of what’s happening and is the start of build-up for scene. If the set appears boring and has no life to it then the audience won’t be hooked in and the actor’s performance will have less of an impact. Knowing all of this, the type of stage that’ll best work would be a proscenium stage for many reasons. The first reason is the flexibility it gives to actors and theater staff by giving the audience an area to focus on without any distractions like preparations for a scene change or wardrobe change. What I mean by this is that by having somewhere to disappear without being seen, it continues the focus on stage only and gives the ability to prepare or change with no limits. The second reason for a proscenium stage is the amount of control I will have to do any changes needed whether that be in the middle of the scene with a background change or during the gap between scene transitions with setting up the next couple of background changes with new props for the cast or to help support the setting.  Background changes will happen with the help of an electronic screen to make sure nothing becomes dull and help give the feeling of plot progression with easy and quick changes. The background made up of the screen and props will reflect places where people of wealth would be such as expensive country clubs, penthouses, and country homes.

The next aspect is arguably the most important one which is the actors. The actors will be both male and female and also white except for one character. Horner will be played by a black female actress and the reason I chose this specifically is to send out my message to society and its standards. Throughout modern entertainment, many films starred white male actors who portray the main character and is found to be the most entertaining. Well, no more of this as this time it will be the polar opposite with a black female lead starring as the main character to not only change the fact only white men can portray a strong role of power but can be entertaining as well. Women were almost never starring characters and always left to be a supporting character who’s only role was to be used to the main character like the character Margery Pinchwife whose role was to be used and exploited by Horner but now that’s changed as the new black female lead will be the who leads the story and prove that not only women can be main characters but can also be strong and charismatic. Compared to how this would’ve been done in William Wycherley time, it would be almost the same in terms of cast roles where men would be men and women would be women but with one big difference being that there would be a male lead instead because back then, yes women were allowed to have roles but not that of the main character as that was always for men.

The last aspect of focus is the costumes which will actually be basic in a sense is that it will have the least amount of impact on the play compared to the actors and set. I am doing this to keep a sense of maturity as yes, The Country Wife is a comedy, but I want the humor to be in the actions not in appearances since this play also teaches us that appearances can be deceiving. The costumes will be clothes, specifically suits for the male cast and suits and lavish dresses for the female cast as such as almost all characters are aristocrats and have money and power and the style of clothing is usually associated with those qualities. The differences arise in the colors of the suits of the characters where Horner will have a reddish and orange colors to it to reflect his passion and adventurous nature with the ladies. Someone like Margery will have both dresses and suits since in a scene she dresses like a man to escape captivity and the colors of these clothes will be both white and pink to show her innocent and romantic mindset as she falls in love with Horner thinking his actions meant something that it didn’t. The rest of the characters will get colors associated with their personality but that’s how the characters will dress. In comparison to how this would’ve been done in the past, it will actually be the same in terms of clothing choice as men wore men clothes and women wore female and male clothing which really hooked in the male audience members.


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