Before modern day celebrity obsessed culture, there was Marie Antoinette—the Austrian-born-teenage queen of France who reigned from 1774 to 1792. She was often misunderstood (Let them Eat Cake anyone?!) and known as one of the world’s most extravagant queens. In Steppenwolf’s latest production, you’ll find a modern take on history. Written by award-winning playwright David Adjmi and directed by the acclaimed Robert O’Hara, features ensemble members Alana Arenas as Marie Antoinette, Tim Hopper as husband King Louis XVI and Alan Wilder as Sheep. “David Adjmi gives us a Marie both set in her historical moment with references to the events of her time, but with anachronisms that point to our current cultural moment,” shares Steppenwolf Artistic Director Martha Lavey. “The ‘spoiled rich girl’ of which Marie Antoinette is a prototype lives in the current celebrity pantheon. Why does this image seize the collective imagination? Why is the inevitable that a public figure in this image becomes a figure of scorn?”
“I think we’re in love with train wrecks. And Marie was a glorious train wreck,” says Robert O’Hara. “Watching someone who we put up on a pedestal fall down is thrilling. It says something about our own humanity actually. So I want people to walk into this world of royalty and make it a sort of high-end event. It will be beautiful—we’re going to wreck it, but you’re going to enjoy it.”
We couldn’t help but fall in love with the costumes and hair design, which were created by Costume Designer Dede Ayite and Hair and Wig Designer Dave Bova. We caught up with the duo to learn more about how they created the look of a modern day ill-fated teen queen. Check out our interview with Dede Ayite who created the costumes and Dave Bova, who created the stunning wigs and hair design.
Marie Antoinette will run at Steppenwolf’s Upstairs Theatre at 1650 N. Halsted St. through May 10, 2015. Purchase tickets ($20 – $82) through Audience Services (1650 N. Halsted St.), 312.335.1650 and steppenwolf.org.