Deepsikha Chatterjee: We met at FSU. When we started there we were told about the mandatory Friday-night Safety Meeting. The first one we attended was at a bar!
The costume designs for last year’s Comedy of Errors and Big River could really not have been more different to my eyes. I know that keeping two time-periods and concepts in your head at once is normal for repertory theatre, but can you talk about what that balance is like as an artist?
I do the research for each show separately. Each director has a different perspective and I try to take the cue from that. For Comedy of Errors Geoff had specifically mentioned Appalachian life at the turn of the 20th century. With Chad on Big River, we both together came up with the concept from the word “whimsical”. We talked about “Americana”, “Patchwork”, “Quilting”, etc., and came up with the look.
Endstation has been amazing as a family. Ever since Krista and Geoff founded Endstation, I was eager and curious. Over the last six years I had worked at many places. Last year as my husband and I planned a vacation in the area, I told Krista I wanted to stop by, meet everyone and expressed my wish to one day work there. Immediately they both welcomed me and I got on board. But I could do it only because it’s a family-friendly atmosphere. No other famous theatre company I have worked for would accommodate the family. But we do theatre for everyone, and we should make the working conditions family friendly. Endstation has done a wonderful job at that. Endstation’s choices of plays and musicals also help carry that message.
They have a hands-on educational experience. As a professor at an undergraduate theatre program, I know the limitations of class schedules. Because of this, we often have multiple students working on one project. But at Endstation my one or two interns and I can work together to create the shows. We go shopping together, drape, stitch, build, dye, paint, or distress costumes together. The interns have complete ownership of their work.
Many people may think that Endstation is only active during our Blue Ridge Summer Theatre Festival. When does work on the Summer’s shows begin for you and what do you do first?
Chad and the design team have been collaborating on Violet since January 2013! We are always planning ahead.
Who would you say your artistic models are for your work? Do you look to fashion? history? cinema? Who inspires you as a designer?
Yes, fashion is definitely one of my inspirations. I also love looking at different cultures, museums, movies and try to draw from all of these. Living in New York, I am always inspired by people around me. I also love traveling and I hope that enriches my design eye too.
What have been some of your favorite Endstation shows? Which have been the most rewarding for you to work on? Do you have a favorite performance you’d be willing to share with us?
I loved Michael Stablein in Comedy of Errors last year, and George Carruth and Taamu Wuya in Big River.
What kinds of artistic work do you envision Endstation doing in the future?
I see them continuing to do the Shakespeare in the park experience and making theatre accessible to everyone. Musicals are great, too, for entertainment. However I would want to see some newer challenging plays and some ethnic voices.
Read more about these interviews here.
Aaron C. Thomas has been the Resident Dramaturg at Endstation Theatre since 2010. He is also a contributing scholar for the Brooklyn-based American Laboratory and is currently a visiting lecturer in the Department of Theater at Dartmouth College. You can connect with him via Twitter, Facebook, or his blog Tea to Pour.