Intimate Apparel, Lynn Nottage

Costume Studio, Prof. H. Huang

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     Intimate Apparel follows the journey of Esther as she navigates her small slice of turn-of-the-century New York.  It is through her interactions with the others in her world that we learn about this quiet woman:  to Mrs. Dickson, she’s strong-willed but prideful, loyal but unwilling to settle on a marriage. To Mrs. Van Buren, she’s an agreeable confidant and emotional support. To Mr. Marks, she is a kind, passionate artist, and to Mayme she is an honest friend, someone who she can daydream and be vulnerable with. Despite this and her preciously kept dream of one day owning her own beauty parlor, Esther craves deeper emotional and physical intimacy.  In her letters with George, she (and her friends) craft an image of Esther that she is terrified she cannot live up to. Ultimately George’s own image is revealed to be falsified, and he adds salt to the wound by not only betraying her trust but also taking her precious savings. In the end, and thanks to the loyalty of some of her friends, Esther keeps her irreplaceable ability to persist in the face of hardship, and gains a new chance at intimacy- motherhood.