The cast of Lawrence University’s Pippin
The cast of Lawrence University’s Pippin

Designing in Duplicate

Lisa Mulcahy

Designer Kärin Simonson Kopischke creates two vastly different looks for Pippin

Costume designer Kärin Simonson Kopischke was presented with the rare challenge of designing two different productions of Pippin back-to-back—and triumphed. Over her decades-long career, Simonson Kopischke has earned a stellar reputation for professional and technical excellence. She has designed for numerous regional theatre Tony Award winners including the American Conservatory Theater, Chicago Shakespeare, the Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, the Long Wharf, Victory Gardens, the Children’s Theatre Company, Crossroads, and the Cincinnati Playhouse. Simonson Kopischke also works with many historical societies, notably creating a series of historical renderings depicting women in the garments they might have worn in a series called Garments of Our Foundations. She has also designed costumes for the feature film Feed the Fish, and for new works from Harry Connick Jr. and Stephen Schwartz. Her work has garnered many accolades, including the Joseph Jefferson Award, AriZoni Award, and a Prague Quadrennial nomination. As as a respected professor, she has taught costume design at The Theatre School of DePaul, Northwestern University, Carroll University, and currently at Lawrence University. And if that were not enough? She runs a successful upcycled clothing business online with her daughter, Anya. 

Read more

Shadow Work

Randi Minetor

Thom Weaver's Lighting Plays a Key Role in Macbeth

Is there a “normal” way to interpret Shakespeare in twenty-first century theater? The days of recreating Elizabethan England seem to be behind us as today’s directors place their productions anywhere they like, and use the Bard’s intricate language and story lines to create a new take on centuries-old material. In recent memory, we’ve seen an all-female production of Twelfth Night set in the roaring 1920s, A Midsummer Night’s Dream on post-apocalyptic Earth, and The Taming of the Shrew as part of a traveling circus… and that’s just in theaters around upstate New York.     

So, when Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) approached its own Macbeth earlier this year, no one was surprised to learn that this production would not take a traditional approach. Instead, the Scottish play would become a supernatural horror thriller, complete with magical illusions created by one of the top people in the illusion business. Management turned to a directing team that had mounted a mystical interpretation of The Tempest in 2015, Helen Hayes Award-winning director Aaron Posner, and Teller—the silent half of Penn and Teller, the world-famous illusionist team. 

Read more