Marissa L. Menezes - costume designer
MARISSA L. MENEZES: I am a costume designer because I cannot imagine doing anything else. Even on the days where this thing I love more than anything challenges me, drains me, defeats me, and just refuses to love me back, I still cannot picture myself in any other career. How could I when I get to wake up and tell stories for a living? Stories about my family and friends, about my community, and myself. Theatre has given me a place to ask the questions I wouldn’t dare ask in polite company, and a playground to explore the most beautiful and ugly sides to humanity.
As a designer, I am drawn to costumes specifically because of their intimate relationship to and exploration of that humanity. We put so much of ourselves into the clothes we wear. Clothing can be our armor, our canvas, or our hearts on our sleeves. It helps mold our first impressions and tells a subtle story of who we are before we even open our mouths.
I am fascinated by complex stories that reside within each of us, and how I can weave together opposing textures, colors, and shapes within fashion to pull part of that human complexity outward. To find meaning and purpose in even the smallest of details. There is a certain kind of magic in being able to tell a story with nothing more than a pair of wedding bands worn around the neck of an elderly woman, or the frayed hem of what was once an expensive suit on a businessman, or the patch covered hoodie that a teenage girl refuses to take off. And I suppose that is really what it boils down to for me; the magic of silent storytelling. That is what drives me.