Christa Scott Reed & Michael Frederic Offer a Glimpse of The Great Divorce's Other Worldly Costumes
December 2nd, 2015
by Christa Scott Reed & Michael Frederic
C.S. Lewis' classic Heaven and Hell fantasy The Great Divorce takes to the stage in a stunning three-person adaptation at off-Broadway's Pearl Theatre. Take a peek below.
Within the show's trio, Joel Rainwater plays the protagonist who must decide whether to hop the bus for Heaven or remain in Grey Town, while Christa Scott Reed and Michael Frederic play every other character the man meets along his way. Which means that Christa and Michael have more than half a dozen costume changes each as they jump from person to person. Below the duo shares with BroadwayBox a bit about each of their characters.
Christa Scott Reed
DO NOT ADJUST YOUR TELEVISION SETS. Your eyes do not deceive you—there is no color here! Our show is set in both Heaven and Hell. In C.S. Lewis' vision of the afterlife, Hell is a dingy grey town where it's always raining and the denizens are grey, ghostly, quarrelsome creatures (Heaven is waaaaay better, by the way, but I play mostly the Hellish sort). Since I play a very quick succession of Hell-folks, designer Nicole Wee has me in grey pants and blouse throughout, over which I throw various grey-toned accoutrements to indicate each character.The Artist:
Here, I'm a formerly famous artist. I call this East Village BoHo Hell Chic.Grumbling Ghost:
This is "The Grumbler"—an older lady who can do nothing but constantly complain in a mindless buzz of chatter (in a Fargo accent. Why? Because I like doing that accent. So there). Designer Nicole and director Bill envisioned this cape that practically buzzes itself with all these wacky little waving bits that stick off of it, like the cloud of complaints that constantly surround the Grumbler.The Bickersons/Female Thug:
This the hat and coat of two different "ladies" in Hell waiting for the bus to Heaven (yup, you can go any time you want). The owner of the fuzzy coat is a Carmela Soprano kind of gal. After two lines she gets punched in the face and that's the end of her, so this fab furry costume doesn't get as much stage time as it obviously demands.The Poet/ Critic:
This is an obnoxious, pretentious literary type on the bus to Heaven. Shh, don't tell anyone but I originally based him on the creepy brother in Wedding Crashers. I try not to think what C.S. Lewis would think of that.Robert's Wife (aka The Vain Ghost):
This is a Society Lady from Hell. Literally. Think Chanel, a martini, and a bad attitude. She hates her husband because he can "only work for 13 hours a day!". She's charming/Mother Ghost:
This understated number is the house dress of a grieving mother. It's one of our more simple and touching scenes so probably the less quipped about this, the better.Fiery Spirit:
Finally, I'm someone from Heaven!! In this case a "Fiery Spirit". What you are missing in the photo are the flame effects the lighting casts on my elegant robe. Designer Nicole had quite a challenge considering C.S. Lewis says in his book that the immense, amazing people in Heaven are so fantastic that you can't even tell whether they are clothed or not. God Bless you, Nicole, for not sending me out naked...
Michael FredericBase Man:
This is my Base costume—where all the magic starts. Gray, neutral, could be anything, could be nothing. Sort of like something you find at the back of the fridge after it's been there a couple weeks.Mr. Bickerson:
Poor Mr. Bickerson. Standing in the rain, trying to make his wife happy. And he has had just about enough. Have you met his wife?? Egads. The Great Divorce actually has nothing to do with divorce. But if it did, it would make Mr. Bickerson's day.Big Ghost:
A little rough around the edges, this guy. Not above using his fists to get what he wants. And he only wants what's coming to him. Which turns out to be a bit of a surprise......Bowler Hat Man:
BHM is a guy who knows how to make things happen. Ambitious. A businessman with plans. Perhaps a bit sketchy? He'll sell you the shirt off your back.Artist Spirit:
Are you starting to notice that lots of these characters don't have actual names? Yep. This guy is a spirit, not a ghost. BIG difference in our world. Happy as a clam. Was a successful painter back in the day, but that's all behind him now.Hard Bitten Ghost:
No name given, but I think his name is Ben. As in "Been there, done that." Weary and cynical. HBG tells it how it is. He gives our hero some much needed advice. But is there an agenda behind it?George MacDonald:
No, that's really his name. He was a real guy. Pretty great guy, with a bit of a mischievous side. Sort of Gandalf meets Clarence the Angel. But Scottish. DEFINITELY Scottish.
See 'The Great Divorce' at off-Broadway's Pearl Theatre through January 3, 2016.