Theater Design with Jordan Zimba

Stupid Fucking Bird drew attention from the moment it was chosen as the mainstage for the fall semester. How does Wheaton College even begin to advertise a play with a swear word in the title? However, often overlooked is the smaller details of the play. In particular, the intentionality of the costumes

The designer for the play, Jordan Zimba ’20, had a simple vision for the costumes. “I wanted the actors to understand why,” said Zimba. “Why I choose those clothes for the character, how it fits in with how they’re playing the character.” He goes on to explain that the original play was vague, with only a few things set in stone – one character must wear all black, for example. 

“There are descriptors like ‘party clothes’, and nothing else, which is fun,” Zimba said. “This gives me a ridiculous amount of power,” he added. Zimba carries with him an aura of understated efficiency, his own clothes unassuming, but carefully cohesive. 

His process for choosing costumes is simple – he pinballs around a mall with friends until he finds clothes that work. He pauses to describe a person in a shop who promised to come to the show when she discovered what he was purchasing the clothes for, then grimaces briefly, explaining she never did. 

“Some of my favorites were the colorblocked jacket that Kelby Perez ’20 wore and the matching checkered pants and scarf for Ian Hamilton ’21,” Zimba said. “My absolute favorite outfit was the one we made James Sena ’22 wear, though – we had two versions of it so we could soak him in water to make a point for a scene,” he added.

It was the second show Zimba ever designed. “I’m glad I did it,” he said. “It was stressful, incredible, and educational, and I’m so glad I did it, he added.”