Saturday, June 20, 2009

Lions, and Asses, and Fairies, Oh My!

Costuming a show is an exhilarating yet frightening experience; all the creative images in your head need to somehow transfer into the reality of fabric and form, and the costumes also need to survive the movement that the director has given the performers, no matter what. For The Bluest Water, I was fortunate in that I kept most of the costumes from last summer's run, and since all the original cast returned, I put that show together fairly easily....ahh.

Enter the exhilarating and the frightening...A Midsummer Night's Dream allows for incredible possibilities for costume, depending on the director's concept, and, of course, one's resources. Director Ryan Clark has decided to open the show in the 1950s (a more dreary 50s), then have the characters move through this forest-dream of a more unrestrained, colorful, and chaotic world in which not only are the conformities of the 50s shed, but clothing is shed as well. The end of this Dream finds the characters "on the other side," or settling into the 1960s. Pretty exciting, yes --vivid color, sparkling fabric, wings for fairies, ear of ass and tail of lion - all good stuff.

Fairy fabric for A Midsummer Night's Dream

The costume challenges for Dream are dirt and time. The show is, of course, performed outside, and several characters will be rolling about on the ground (a costumer's nightmare), and most of the costume changes will take place in the space, sometimes within a very short section of lines. So, creative thinking not only covers color and design, but how to allow for smooth changes for the performers.

Gathered costume pieces for A Midsummer Night's Dream

So, time to continue gathering, sewing, and fitting. Audiences will be in for a visual treat in A Midsummer Night's Dream - with clever set design/dressing, memorable and engaging characters, and color-rich costumes - very exhilarating...and the lion is really not that frightening.

Sally Parrish Southall


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