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

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Fool for Love

By: Sam Shepard
Directed by: Alexander Hellenburg

Design Statement 

Fool for Love was my first costume design that I worked in conjunction when I also designed for Venus in Fur. I had no budget for this show and had to rely on what we had in stock. The one act play was performed in our black box teaching space, which seats approximately fifty audience members. When I first read the play, I started researching the environment of the setting, which takes place in a hotel room in the middle of the desert somewhere. I wanted to incorporate these within my color palettes, as my director had mentioned that he saw May start in green, and when things start getting worse with Eddie, she turns into the sexy red dress. I thought of this almost like a stop light, but was also inspired by neon light motel signs in the desert. I created my looks based on the conversations and collaborations I had with my director. For example, he envisioned Martin as very awkward and timid, and he thought he was reminiscient of Forrest Gump. So I drew inspirations from Forrest Gump to create his look. The same was for the old man, we pictured him as an inspired brute-truck driver, wearing army green and very dingy. I was inspired for Eddie from a western-esque cowboy that doesn't fool around, and really respects his cowboy boots. I was interested in the "transformation" for may for when she puts on the red dress when she gets ready to go on the date for Martin. She starts out in this dingy, not flattering outfit with a green cutoff blouse and jeans, and transforms herself for the date. She uses the red dress as as a tease, and it almost becomes a sexual act when she puts it on in front of Eddie. Sam Shepard was very specific with the sexy red dress, and because of this I could reflect this on Eddie. I chose Eddie's color palette as red/black to underlay the fact that him and May are brother and sister, so there is a similarity to them when she gets changed into the red dress. 

Conceptual/Enviroment Research

Concrete Research  

May Concrete Research 

Eddie Concrete Research 

Martin Concrete Research

Old Man Concrete Research 

Show Rendering

Production Photos 

Photo by Dara Turner