Peat bogs, climate change, and bog bodies: the making of Macbeth
Costume and Set Designer Rose Revitt gives an insight into her inspiration behind the design for our Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank production of Macbeth
How is the essence of Macbeth’s famed witches translated into the physicality of stage and costume? Costume and Set Designer Rose Revitt explains her creative process in transforming our Globe Theatre stage into the natural environment that underpins our 2022 Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank production, now playing in our wooden ‘O’.
Director Sarah Frankcom’s production of Macbeth invites us into a world where the natural land has been disrupted by human intervention. Interested in the natural world and the way that the witches interact with the human environment, Rose Revitt set out to create a landscape that brings the injustice of human action to the visual forefront.
Much research goes into the construction of these worlds, and Rose found an unusual inspiration as a basis:
“Peat bogs ended up being hugely inspiring. They look quite boring on the surface, but a huge amount of carbon is stored in peat bogs, which is released into the atmosphere and interacts with climate change quite a lot. Subsequently, this disruption felt like a really interesting starting point”.
Delving further into her discovery, Rose discovered something else – bog bodies.
“Bog bodies are preserved in peat bogs, and they’ve been there from the 4th century. Sarah and I loved the idea of these – beings from another land that had been disturbed by human interaction with nature”.
Her findings, she explains, served as a source of inspiration for the witches costumes. The witches are, in a sense, a formation of the bog bodies. They, Rose explains, ‘had been disturbed by human interaction with nature, and had come back to right these wrongs, and see how they could interact with the human environment’.
Designed within a rapid turnaround of eight weeks, the design process can be intense at times, Rose explains. This however, she says, is hugely outweighed by her gratitude for the variety of the people she gets to meet on the way:
“I get to collaborate with skilled practitioners every day, including painters, prop makers, and costume supervisors. Seeing how one small but incredibly important aspect of the show might come about is a really exciting process”