The beautiful garments seen in the comedic production of Triad Stage’s Don Juan are directed and designed by costume designer, Miwa Ishii. Originally from Japan, on a quest to explore the different cultures and languages of America, Miwa Ishii started her journey at a community college in Kansas. However, she later continued her education at the University of Kansas. As a result of her experiences while studying in Kansas, Miwa decided to venture away from her Psychology major and turn her attention to designing for. According to the designer herself, “I would go to plays with my mother as a young girl and admired the costume and character creation, but never put it all together until meeting a mentor in undergrad that helped bridge connection and aid her in finding her place in theatre.”
Outside of designing for Don Juan, Miwa is a technician and designer based in New York City. Her start in theatre began as a technician intern for the Belmont Theatre in Chicago, followed by her Undergrad musical production titled Urinetown. After participating in a season internship with the DC Shakespeare Theatre Company, Ishii attended graduate school at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville to study design. She then met Preston Lane at the Southeastern Theatre Conference ( SETC) , making her one of Triad Stage’s first SETC constituates for the Triad Stage Production of Anna Christie back in 2014, and was added to Don Juan by the end of last years season.
The dedicated designer was originally given the task of creating a concept for a Hip-hop Don Juan…can you imagine, a Run DMC Don Juan with 20 inch gold chains, adidas, jumpsuits, and all?! But of course like any well crafted production – things get cut. Thus, in order to stay true to the aesthetic, the theme was switched to the original French and Spaniard style of the 17th century. The responsibility of the quick change element ,the amount of characters, and conveying the comedic theme of the play might have presented quite the challenging task for one. Nonetheless, with the support of the Triad Stage design team. She was able to create and find pieces around the city to fit the the period that Don Juan conquered.
A few costumes curated by Miwa Ishii featured in Don Juan.
After the show, Miwa Ishii is sadly leaving the Triad to go back to New York to continue with costume design and tailoring. But her costume direction can be found soon in upcoming Summer 2016 film called Cafe Society written and directed by Woody, starring Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg.
Tickets for the show can be found, Here.