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Intimate Apparel

Written by Lynn Nottage

Weathervane Theatre 2022

Photo by Robert H. Fowler

Director: Shinnerrie Jackson
Scenic/Costume Design: Rien Schlect
Props Designer: Billy Smith
Lighting Design: Scout Hough
Sound Design: Ariana Cardoza
SM: Egypt Dixon

Intimate Apparel takes place in 1908, a time when everything is changing. Technology. Music. Society. Longing for the future and for the unknown possibilities is thick in the air. Esther is a seamstress who just wants to be loved. We watch her interact with a few different people who come from very different backgrounds and represent what could be. Everyone has hopes and dreams and the world is not quite ready for them to come to fruition, but the seed has been planted. Aurally, to tell the story of this ever-changing world and what is to come, we used music from across decades to hint at where we are heading and to highlight the universal and timelessness of the characters' struggles and emotions. From Ragtime to Ella Fitzgerald to Nina Simone to Beyonce. Music has told our stories for centuries and we will forever use it to hold our dreams for the future and our pains of the present.


With the play taking place at the turn of the century, there are many references to new beginnings, dreams, new technology, and the future. And in music history ragtime is one of the first mainstream music genre’s created by black Americans that leads to an enormous amount of music and music genres (jazz, blues, rock,rnb, hip hop, etc.). In addition, ragtime and music that evolves from ragtime has influences from other cultures as well such as Caribbean and African cultures. This melting pot of culture is shown in the music and the setting of NYC and these cultures are constantly mentioned in the script.

This idea is what the sound design was based upon. In transitions of travel, music representing the next character would play, as well as music underscoring their scene as if they were listening to it. The playlist to the right served as inspiration for the types of music that represented the feelings and dreams of the characters. Pray You Catch Me by Beyonce began and ended the show as a modern-day reminder that this play does not end in 1908. 

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