Asking Judith Förster to be my costume designer was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I say that because it would have been so easy for me to have not made that decision, and stuck to the old habit of trying to outfit myself. I've done it this way for years: pulling out dresses and old leotards I never wear; or shopping at thrift stores and asking friends if they have something I can borrow. These methods may serve the end goal of having something to wear, but it's rare that said something is perfect. It's usually just convenient and inexpensive.
Judith and I met at pOnderosa last summer, and I was immediately drawn to her artistic sensibility, unapologetic style, and bold personality. I knew I wanted to work with her someday, but I didn't know any when or where or how.
This summer, as I began work on IMAGO, I realized that my old costuming habits would need to change if I was going to fulfill the vision I have for the piece. I knew that alone, I wouldn't give my costume the attention it needed; and I knew, too, how powerful a good costume can be (and how devastating a bad costume can be). Excited by the very idea of working with Judith, I asked her to be my costume designer. She said yes.
We met several times over the course of two months in Berlin. In the earlier meetings, Judith would ask me details about the piece: what are my inspirations and motivations? what is the color palette? what mood am I trying to achieve? She listened as I voiced my answers, and always reciprocated with her own understanding and take on the piece. Not only did these conversations help me see the piece from a different perspective, they gave me complete trust in Judith's ability to see the vision and make it better through costuming. As time passed and she brought me costumes to try out, my faith in her ability continued to grow and my gratitude for her sheer presence continued to deepen.
Because I'm not a costume designer, and I could never have made the costumes look this good on my own. What began as an urge to work with someone I liked and respected became a lesson in trusting the process of letting go of control. By designating the job of costume designer to Judith, who's really really good at it, the costumes and the piece are better. I am grateful for this lesson and I am REALLY grateful to Judith for the costume!