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Meet our THE EVA TRILOGY team: Alex Jaeger

Ciera Eis
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Cast & Crew Bios
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Nov 1, 2017

Costume Designer Alex Jaeger takes a moment to talk about design, his ideas for the Nymph, and how Romeo grew a tail.

Barbara Hammond's No Coast Road (Magic 2017). Julia McNeal(Eva) & Caleb Cabrera(Tom). dir. Loretta Greco. Photo: Jennifer Reiley.
How did you get into costume design? 

I have always been interested in art and design. I originally studied performing arts. After a while, I realized that performing wasn't the best career for me. I then received my BFA  in fashion design from Massachusetts College of Art. I worked for several years as a fashion designer, but missed the performing arts. I realized that I could combine my interests and then went to UCLA to earn an MFA in costume design. I love it. 

You've worked at Magic many times over the years. What are your favorites, or favorite moments?

Well, let's see...  I've designed

Morbidity and Mortality, Mauritius, Mrs. Whitney, Goldfish, Oedipus El Rey, What We're Up Against, OR,, Bruja, Annapurna, Se Llama Christina, Every Five Minutes, Buried Child, This Golden State, Sister Play, A Lie of the Mind, Fred's Diner, and Grandeur. It's impossible to choose a favorite. They are all so different. Also, the Magic produces such distinctive work that there is always a special moment. One that stays with me is the appearance of the Coal Man in Every Five Minutes. It really touched me. 

The Eva Trilogy intermixes past and present as well as “fact” and fantasy. How does your design grapple with these demands? 

The past/present issue doesn't require much from me. It often takes the form of memory as opposed to a scene actually taking place in the past. Sometimes, trying to do too much or be too literal with the costumes can actually detract from the narrative. As far as the fantasy element, I got to have fun designing the Nymph character and working with Hana Kim's beautiful videos to create the ethereal .

Enter the Roar (Magic 2017). Justin Gillman (Father O'Leary), Lisa Anne Porter (Teresa), Rod Gnapp (Eamon), and Amy Nowak (Roisin). dir. Loretta Greco. Photo: Jennifer Reiley.
What’s your favorite piece you've worked on in The Eva Trilogy? 

Well, it's hard to choose a favorite. I love telling a visual story to go along with the spoken word. I find as much beauty in an exquisitely distressed piece of clothing that tells the story of a life as I do in an elaborate gown. 

Can you tell us a little about your work on the digitial Nymph within the third play -- No Coast Road

Yes. The nymph was a challenge. There are so many cliche images of nymphs in the woods that it was hard to get away from that. I did lots of research and sketches involving bark, twigs, leaves, etc. I didn't connect with any of them. The Nymph appears in the third part of the trilogy which takes place in Corsica. I went back to the drawing board and started with research of the Corsican wilderness. I noticed beautiful low clouds and mist in many of the pictures. This gave me the idea that the Nymph could be smoke or mist. That allows her to take any form, appear anywhere from ground to tree tops, etc. I created a light as air white and gray garment that doesn't have any defined edges. I'm excited to see the finished video images. 

Megan Trout (Nymph). Photo by: Hana Kim.
What other artistic disciplines do you look to for inspiration? Any works in particular that resonate with you or connect to The Eva Trilogy

I can find inspiration anywhere. It can be any of the arts, but also a homeless person who has expressed their creativity in an amazing outfit, or rust running down a stone wall. Absolutely anything. Inspiration is mostly being open to truly seeing what is around you. The way if works for me is that I get a project such as The Eva Trilogy into my mind and then the inspirations present themselves to me. It's kind of magical. 

Anything can happen with live performance, do you have a funny moment to share where something went awry with your work?

My contract is over on opening night, so I often don't get to know about any malfunctions that happen during the run. One moment that I do remember happened during a preview of a production of Romeo and Juliet directed by Loretta Greco at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. It was a modern dress production. During the Queen Mab scene, Benvolio gives Romeo a bear hug from behind. The actor playing Benvolio's  belt buckle got caught on Romeo's belt loop. They were attached for what seemed an eternity until Benvolio finally just took off his belt. Of course, Romeo then had a "tail" trailing behind him. 

Ciera Eis

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