John Merritt III
Costume Designer · Crafts Artisan· Wardrobe Supervisor· Stitcher

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Crumbs from the Table of Joy
By: Lynn Nottage/Directed by: Ron Himes

*My costume designs for Crumbs from The Table of Joy was chosen to be a runner up/Alternate for the KCACTF Region 3 Theatrical Design Excellence Category in Spring of 2018. *

Design Statement 

Within Crumbs from The Table of Joy, I started with the dark and dreary elements found within the beginning of the play, as we find out the Crump family is moving from florida to Brooklyn to relocate after the matriarch of the family has died. The sisters, Ernestine and Ermina who were unwilling and uninterested in starting a new life, I saw the play focused on how quick this family life has changed.  I found inspiration from paintings and Artwork of Brooklyn and gained my color palettes within them. I wanted to showcase this melancholy forced move that was primarily brought on by the father, Godfrey Crump, whose intent was to start a new life and to be near his worship and devotion to Father Divine.   As the play and the characters  progress, so does the color. The girls are evidently not taking the new Brooklyn life very well, and are teased for their "country dresses" by the schoolgirls. With this being directly mentioned, I was looking to  evolve the sisters from simple country dresses at the beginning of the play, to more urban Brooklyn schoolgirl silhouettes, to show that they can fit in within time.  Not only was their an evolution for color, but also in silhouettes.  For instance, I chose two different shades of blue to signify Ernestine’s calming influence on the family, I see blue symbolizing depth and stability. These blue highlights then morph into green to highlight the influence that Ernestine's aunt, Lily Anne Green brings to her. Lily's color palette begins as green, and takes a darker tone as the play develops. For Gerte, she begins in dark browns as an immigrant, and as the play progresses her palette becomes more colorful as she adjusts to the family. I used gray for Godfrey because he is distracted and rigid in his beliefs in Father Divine’s teachings.In this show I used many vintage dresses from the 1950s to bring this time period to life, to juxtapose the themes of death in the play. I wanted to essentially bring a new life, and showcase that life continues on through these vintage items, which the play also highlights. 

Conceptual Inspiration 

Ernestine and Ermina Crump 

Country Dresses Research

Urban Brooklyn Schoolgirl Research 

Peace Mission Pinafore Research 

Shop Line Rendering 

Ernestine Graduation Dress Research 

Shop Line Rendering 

Lily Anne Green Research 

Gerte Shulte Research

Gerte 'Showgirl Fantasy Sequence' Research 

Shop Line Rendering 

Godfrey Crump Research 

Renderings and Production Photos 

More Production Photos