Category Archives: Costuming

Getting Dressed for Tech

Getting everyone in costumes for the first time is always my favorite part of tech. Always. Whether on the little shows, when I’m the designer, or on the biggest shows when I’m a lowly dresser.

There’s always giddy, happy energy and manageable chaos. I’m quite fond of manageable chaos, when I know what’s going on. Getting dressed for the first time is not nearly as enjoyable if I don’t know what’s happening.

Usually, the stage manager schedules what feels like 10 minutes to get ready (almost always it’s really more like the standard 1/2 hour call). This morning, heeding my advice we got a whole hour set aside for the actors to get into costumes at the top of day. And wouldn’t you know it? Everyone was done in 30 minutes, guaranteeing that this stage manager will never set aside such a large block of time to get ready, ever. (I’m sorry for this cast’s efficiency, future costume designers!)

But, they’re all dressed. And they look freaking awesome. High Schooler Hamlet may be my favorite design that I’ve ever done. I lurves it.

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When Words Fail

Sometimes, despite my best efforts, words fail me. I can’t figure out how to express exactly what I mean. I can’t make my description match the image I have in my head. Or I don’t know for certain that the terms someone else is using are the same words I would use.

Today’s example: panniers. A good friend called and asked me to dig through our costume storage for a set she knew we owned. The theatre she’s working for this summer needs to rent them but our shop manager isn’t in town. The panniers were from a specific show, but it happened before my time at this theatre so I didn’t know them. They were worn by a specific actress, but the only set I found didn’t have any sort of label. She described them as “oversized,” which I took to mean gigantic. Like, go through the door sideways, if they were strong enough you could carry a friend around on either side of you, HUGE.

And the set I found I described as large, but not necessarily oversized. They weren’t from the beginning of the trend when panniers were used just to emphasize the size of hips (and therefore minimize the waist), but they weren’t colossal, some costume designer’s bizarre interpretation of 18th century opulence.

And so I abandoned all of my words and took this (very lovely) picture of myself wearing the panniers and sent it to my friend:

Because sometimes you just have to play dress up.

And wouldn’t you know? They were the right ones.



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