Metro Weekly

Exclusive Photos: The Costumes of Shakespeare Theatre’s “Camelot”

Camelot tells the story of the ill-fated love triangle between King Arthur, his queen, Guenevere, and his first knight, Lancelot

Ken Clark as King Arthur, Alexandra Silber as Guenevere, and Nick Fitzer as Lancelot — Photo: Scott Suchman

Among the first things director Alan Paul instructed his designers for Camelot, which tells the story of the ill-fated love triangle between King Arthur, his queen, Guenevere, and his first knight, Lancelot, was “How can we look at this musical with fresh eyes? How can the visuals not actually weigh it down?”

Among those designers was Ana Kuzmanic, whose costumes for the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s production fully capture the essence of the musical’s medieval trappings while mixing in a contemporary feel. “The costumes are only loosely based on period clothing,” says Kuzmanic. “We landed on a mixture of styles that hopefully works.”

Kuzmanic paid specific attention to color. “If you look at King Arthur’s wardrobe, for example, the dominant color is red, obviously for royalty. I decided to use red to also show a connection between Arthur and his son, Mordred. Mordred’s coat is a brighter, sleeker red than what Arthur wears at that point in the show. That is to show the aspirations that Mordred might have and his growing strength, as opposed to Arthur getting older and more tired.”

For the buoyant “Lusty Month of May,” sung by the queen’s Ladies-in-Waiting, Kuzmanic aimed for an eye-popping explosion of color. “In the opening of the show, we have Arthur and Guenevere in kind of black and white. In that scene, she actually refers to Camelot as dreary and dark. And so it was deliberate that for ‘Lusty Month of May’ that we see these incredible colors on stage. I took inspiration for the color palette from the shades of field flowers and from when the sun’s rays go through the petals of the flowers, how they are transparent and layered at the same time.”

The designer wanted to keep the military aspects of Lancelot, the show’s romantic centerpiece, at the fore. “When he’s not in armor, I designed a gambeson, which is a period doublet, that has a lot of intricate detail in the way we stitched and padded the leather. We used a variety of leathers and suedes in combination to give it detail. But I wanted even that doublet to invoke military uniforms, so that’s why the color is blue. Because he’s kind of a perfect soldier.”

Camelot runs through July 8 at Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F St. NW. Tickets are $44 to $118. Call 202-547-1122 or visit shakespearetheatre.org.

Patrick Vaill as Mordred — Photo: Scott Suchman

Ted van Griethuysen as Merlyn — Photo: Scott Suchman

Ladies in Waiting: L-R, starting with the back row: Jennifer Cordiner, Chadaé, Casey Wenger-Schulman, Melissa Wimbush, Veronica Burt, Bridget Riley — Photo: Scott Suchman

Floyd King as Pellinore — Photo: Scott Suchman

Knights of the Round Table: L-R, starting with the back row. Michael Bingham, Ben Gunderson, Frankie Shin, Paul Victor, Julio Cantano-Yee, Mark Banik, Brandon Bieber — Photo: Scott Suchman

Ken Clark as King Arthur — Photo: Scott Suchman

Alexandra Silber as Guenevere — Photo: Scott Suchman

Nick Fitzer as Lancelot — Photo: Scott Suchman

Ted van Griethuysen as Merlyn and Floyd King as Pellinore — Photo: Scott Suchman

Camelot runs through July 8 at Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F St. NW. Tickets are $44 to $118. Call 202-547-1122 or visit shakespearetheatre.org.

Randy Shulman is Metro Weekly's Publisher and Editor-in-Chief. He can be reached at rshulman@metroweekly.com.