Now we come to the designs I was most nervous and most excited for. The savage costumes have to be intense, extreme and wild- and a task like that is always fun. It lets me go places I can’t normally go as a designer. I had to take risks.
While Roger’s concept came to me fairly quickly, Jack was more of a challenge and went through more iterations. I wanted her to look like a jungle queen, and for the longest time I struggled to find something to put in her hair. I went from a cartoonish skull to leaves to a crown of teeth and even looked up different types of pig bones, but nothing satisfied me and I eventually had to abandon the concept. I wanted the costumes to convey the intensity and rawness I felt reading the book. And, I had a limitation that everything in the costumes had to come either from the girls’ uniforms, or from materials they could find on the island. This is why Roger’s shoulder armor in the above sketch didn’t make it into the final draft: I couldn’t find a way to justify it.
This rendering of Jack is by far the most difficult rendering I’ve done for this project. I had to not only design her clothes, but design her body paint. Then I had to add dirt and make sure any exposed skin had freckles on it. Then I had to shade. I’m not 100% pleased with the result- she doesn’t look as fierce as I intended, and I’m still sad I couldn’t find anything to put in her hair.
Jack’s clothes are meant to look as if they rotted off of her. She’s still technically wearing her skirt, but it’s ripped to shreds. She has a white tank top that’s falling apart, and with no concern for keeping clean, she’s smeared her body paint on right on top of it. Jack’s decay as a person is a gradual, unintentional process. She’s lost track of herself. her costume reflects that.
The tribe Jack establishes is very militaristic. Her hunters are her army, and she rules them severely. Her left arm has army stripes painted on it (they’re upside-down because of her pose) to reflect this theme. She’s also turned her school tie into a holder for her knife. Since Jack is so prideful and concerned with being in charge, I added the stone necklace and leaf anklet as status symbols.
Overall, Jack’s look is asymmetrical and chaotic, and I used intense colors to reflect the intensity of her emotions.
One of the challenges in adapting Lord of the Flies to the stage is the amount of nudity in the book- obviously something you can’t always do in a theatre setting, especially with young actors. With Roger, however, I wanted to create the illusion of nakedness because this complete rejection of social norms is so important to the character. So, I’ve put her in a beige tank top and grey shorts. While Jack’s clothing decays off of her as she loses sight of morality, Roger intentionally strips herself of any moral boundaries. By extending their body paint onto their clothes, Jack and Roger both reinforce this illusion of nakedness. In keeping with the militaristic theme, Roger has repurposed her hair ribbon into an arm band marking her as Jack’s “lieutenant”.
There’s so much more I could say about the process of designing these costumes. I could show you all the photos of stage productions and movies that I looked at, and underline the passages of the book from which I drew inspiration. There’s so much that goes into the process of costuming that if I can’t possibly record every thought and decision. I’m very proud of having finished this project. I got a lot of good drawing practice, and I got to work on something that was just for me, based on a story that’s important to me. There’s still things I would love to change, both in my design choices and the renderings themselves, but I can’t continue editing forever. As a perfectionist, I always fear making wrong decisions in my designs, but I’m learning that there comes a point when you have to let the designs go. That’s what I’m doing now.