Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Arnold, Richard L., 1928-||Polzin, Donald E., 1930-

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Speech


Gay; John; 1685-1732. Beggar's opera; Costume


The purpose of this thesis is to arrive at a workable solution to the problem of designing costumes for The Beggar's Opera. The process used to design these costumes is a standard approach to costume design. This method involves three phases. First, the designer must study the requirements of the script with which he is working. The designer must discover what elements are to be stressed, particularly the mood, style and emotional values to be communicated. These discoveries are best made after completing a study of the playwright, the story, and the time in which the play is set. An analysis of the costume needs of each character completes the preliminary analysis. Second, the designer must synthesize this information to arrive at a production scheme which will set the requirements and limitation of the production. Finally, the designer produces colored sketches which represent the proposed costumes. This study revealed the comic nature of The Beggar's Opera, which is a satire on the upper classes in eighteenth century London and the Italian opera form. It deals with the serious problem of the vice and corruption to be found in all men, but the lack of justice in the fact that only the poor are punished. Despite the social comment in this work, it is presented in a humorous vein. The costumes must suit the satire involved without being so overdone as to pose problems for the actor, or distract from the total production.


Includes bibliographical references.||Includes illustrations.


iv, 123 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type