Posted on: May 8, 2023 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

By Jackson Edwards, Photo Editor

Costume designer Brianna Niven faced a unique challenge when it came to Moraine Valley’s production of “Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play”–bring to life a post-apocalyptic world, using everyday objects.

“Mr. Burns” just finished its two-weekend run in the Fine and Performing Arts Center.

“The show is really weird,” Niven said. “There are three acts. The first act is during an apocalypse, the second act is seven years into one and they try and make a theater company, and the third act is the weird one. It’s 75 years into a weird future and all the costumes are made of plastic and materials that would last 75 years post humans making things.

“There is a lot of duct tape, bags, vinyl, and anything that would last.”

Niven has been a professional costume designer since 2018 and is currently a costume director at Niles North High School and Main East High School. She also spends time at children’s theaters year-round. She spent a year at Moraine Valley in 2014 for her first year of college.

Throughout the show, five characters sit around a fire entertaining themselves as they recall the story of “The Simpsons” episode “Cape Feare,” based off the 1962 film of the same name.

Act two starts seven years into the future and the ensemble from act one rehearse for a theatrical production of the Simpsons episode. They introduce the unique exchange system, where different theater companies have to trade and barter different plays, lines and scenarios to accurately replicate the iconic episode.

Act three opens 75 years in the future. The main cast we met at the beginning is long gone and these new characters have taken their place, but their ideas and memories live on. It has been 83 years since anyone has seen the source material, but these new characters are doing their own production of the episode with the story being passed down for generations.

Director Craig Rosen said the costumes were based on things that could last generations.

“What might have survived nuclear reactors, what things are going to be around and not decompose,” Rosen said. “Maybe these things will stay around forever similar to pollution. So we were creating costumes based on that opinion.”