You on the Moors Now: Introducing Phoebe Gonzalez as the Dramaturg

Headshot Phoebe GonzalezWhat do you find most challenging about You on the Moors Now in terms of dramaturgy?

What’s challenging – and so exciting – about You on the Moors Now is its blend of classic and contemporary ideas. Victorian ideals come up against millennial manners of speech; old notions of gender battle the new. In devoting a lot of time and research to the position of British and American women in the 19th century and the development of the Women’s Rights Movement, I found the limited narratives surrounding women 200 years ago sounded more familiar than I was expecting. The accepted role of women in the west has certainly expanded a great deal since then, but the arguments we hear about them and their abilities today are tinged with the same pseudo-scientific sexist ideas as back then. Women are too emotional, women’s bodies are something to be guarded (often not by women themselves), sexuality is dangerous. All of these ideas are still lingering, which means the dramaturgy for this piece can and should include much more than a glossary of terms or history lessons. It makes my job harder, but all the more exciting!

What tools do you use for research?

I use a whole smorgasbord of tools, but I count myself very lucky to have double majored in gender studies for two years, because it means I still have all my feminist theory and history books just waiting to be perused. I’ve relied heavily on books written during and about the 19th century Women’s Movement, but have also read just about anything ever written about the authors of these novels. This includes anything from old Atlantic articles to epic poetry (if you haven’t read The Glass Essay by Anne Carson, what are you waiting for?).

What anachronism do you find most exciting?

I can’t get enough of the way the Pride and Prejudice characters speak in this play. We all know them so well (perhaps the best of all), so we have certain expectations about formality and tone, yet they move seamlessly between words lifted directly from the novel and strings of curse words. This switch back and forth not only keeps us as the audience on our toes, but also makes it impossible to distance ourselves too much from these characters, who are – underneath all their British exterior – in fact human.

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You on the Moors Now: Introducing Izumi Inaba as the Costume Designer

Headshot Izumi InabaHow does the story and message of YOTMN influences the way you think of the costumes for the show?

In You on the Moors Now, we have four classical stories merging into one. I would like to emphasize that by revealing layers of period clothing to under layers. All women stand up against the positions they have been originally assigned, wearing tough colors and textures, while men are dressed up in brocades and ruffles.

What tools do you use for research?

I look a lot into the history of fashion. I often get inspired by art books and fashion magazines and, to be honest, I often turn to quick searches on the internet as well.

What story do you want to tell through the clothing? What do you think is most appealing about YOTMN?

This play is about the women fighting their social status with their sisterhood. It feels lurking, game-changing, and competitive. I’ll be delivering this play with color-coded clothing as well as gender-reversed textures and materials. The stories agglomerate into one massive fight, while actors dress down to neutral undergarments, bringing all characters into the same ring.

Buy Tickets for You on the Moors Now here!

You on the Moors Now: Introducing Arnel Sancianco as the Set Designer

Headshot Arnel SanciancoHow does the story and message of You on the Moors Now influence the way you think of the set design for the show?

In YOTMN, we wanted to keep the space simple yet elegant and set up a playing field to allow for this clash of genders. The stage is set in a runway configuration that will slingshot the opposing sides together into an epic battle of the gender binaries.

What tools do you use for research?

I was initially inspired by Rovina Cai’s illustrations of Wuthering Heights. Her illustrations captured this combo platter of the exterior nature invading the interior seclusion of Heathcliff’s home. That led me down a maelstrom of neoclassical architecture and weathered color palates that bring the moors into the Den theatre.

What story do you want to tell through the set? What do you think is most appealing about YOTMN?

I want the audience to feel immersed in this battle. I want the people to be cheering for their favorite characters as they fight for their right to live their own lives. I think the audience will leave the show with a revolutionary understanding of these classics. YOTMN isn’t just a modern spin on Bronte, Austen, and Alcott. It’s an awakening to the gender inequalities of today and a reminder of how far we’ve come and how much further we still need to push.

Buy Tickets for You on the Moors Now here!