|The cast of Future Thinking, (L to R) Jud Williford, Heidi Dippold, Virginia Vale, Arye Gross and Enver Gjokaj.|
|Costume deisgner, Melissa Trn|
And with the mix bag of characters—including a spoiled starlet, her “momager,” an obsessed fan—Trn has plenty of opportunity to dive into the psychology of these offbeat characters.
“I like to begin with what they are going through,” continues Trn. “What is happening to them? And the answers to those questions inspire their clothing.”
In Future Thinking, Peter, pet photographer and middle-aged super fan, finds himself in a makeshift interrogation room with Comic Con security—the result of violating a restraining order placed against him by his favorite television starlet, Chiara. Despite this setback, Peter is determined to fulfill his destiny—fantasies of a dream world, where he and Chiara happily live together forever. The only thing Chiara cares about is how to ditch her stage mom, her bodyguard and the demands that come with being a rising sci-fi star.
Trn will be making her SCR design debut, but she has designed at other theatres across the country including Brooklyn Academy of Music, SITI Company, Yale Repertory Theatre and Getty Villa. To top it off, Trn is well-versed in the Comic Con phenomenon and the effects of fandom—she’s married to actor Brett Dalton who is on Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
|Actor Brett Dalton and designer Melissa Trn|
And just like the fans, Trn’s love and care extends into each character’s costume design. While creating the looks, she had to think of two designs for the production: reality and the fictional world of “Odyssey,” the TV show Chiara stars in.
“In talking with our director, Lila Neugebauer, I discovered that we both had a love of the Temple of Dendur exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum and a fascination with Egyptian art,” says Trn. “I think we see a lot of medieval or Asian influences in sci-fi. I thought that using Egypt as a jumping off point would be different—plus it gives me a chance to use some research I've been hoarding.”
As for the “real world” within the play, Trn is taking a nuanced approach to it. She’s hoping to draw out more than just the obvious looks people may initially think of when it comes to celebrity and Hollywood.
“I think what is interesting in Hollywood is the real versus the facade. It can be easy with Chiara to make her seem one sided: a Hollywood starlet, sexy and TMZ bait. But, I’m hoping to go beyond an US Weekly image and give her clothing with some dimension that is personal to her.”
Striding a balance between reality and fantasy, Trn has plenty to work with in her group of funny and interesting characters as she finds the “whys” of their clothing and continues to craft her design for Future Thinking.
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