Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Magic Dress

Mary Ellen Butler, director of "The Producers" at the Palace Theatre in Georgetown, saw an effect in the movie that is based on the Broadway show that she really, really liked. she asked us if we could figure out how to reproduce it on stage.

It is, of course, the one that occurs when Ulla's dress starts out short and turns into a ballroom dancing gown during a dance.

"Sure we can," sez I...

"All we have to do is take a long dress, hitch up the skirt so it looks like a short dress, and do it all with one fastener, so that the actress can release it in the middle of a dance."

Of course, I had no idea HOW to do it, and neither did Ramona. Such effects are usually the province of the computer animation department.

Did I mention that the play is set in 1959, so a modern style, which might be easier to adapt, is out?

Here is the front view of the long gown. I put some sparkly buttons by the hook and eye, hopefully to distract the audience from the fact that there's a big old ugly fastener there.

And here is the back.

Short, it looks like this from the front:

And like this in the back.

It has to fasten with one hook, so that Ulla can unhook it while dancing. It also has to survive some dancing, including a couple of lifts, before being let down. You would have laughed, Dearly Beloved, to see me waltzing that dress dummy around the kitchen!

They are telling me it works. After "Romeo and Juliet" closes, I shall have to see it for myself.


  1. Ronni, you are a genius.

  2. WOW, look at that. Brilliant!

  3. I had a really bad "turn" yesterday morning. Had the paramedics out to the house, and all. I was dizzy/disorientated and throwing up. Thought I was having a heart attack.

    Anyway, all my "vitals" were fine and the medics thought I must have had some debris pass through my ear passage. heh, how about that!? Boy, was I terrified.

  4. Mgt, for goodness sake! Who gets debris in their ears? I always knew you were special...! (LOL)

    Take care of yourself, and I hope you are fully recovered!

  5. I feel like a big fake. lol

  6. I feel relieved that it wasn't anything worse!

    You need that home PC, lady! Your own--not one you have to share with daughter and grandson.

    I'm thinking.....

    Give me a little time--maybe I can come up with something.

  7. Actually, my daughter has signed up for broadband. She gets a free camera-phone and laptop for £40 a month, and is getting her wireless router in about 2 weeks.

  8. Woo to the Hoo!

    Of course the $64,000 question: will you gt to be on it 24/7?

  9. Nice, you are a clever woman.

    Hope you are well Ronni. How is your son settling in at Uni.

    Mgt, look after yourself, stay well.

    Good luck with your home computer, that will be nice for you. I have a hard time getting on mine at home here, especially when my daughter is not well.

    All the best Possumbear

  10. Ronni, you are magic.

  11. I agree Ronni is Magic! (I hope it works too lol)

    @ Mgt. Look into an Acer - of course its not a Mac, but it has all the things you need if you are just basic on the computer. And with delivery its under $600. For the GOOD one!

    Of course the most expensive thing about a computer is the software package (well not the MOST expensive but still). A lot of companies now offer Microsoft Office products at a hugely discounted rate, ask around your friends to see if they have any offers for the software. I am loving my Acer, and since I have recently had a major neck injury am glad I dont have to lug my work computer back and forth! (they lifted the 9/11 restrictions at work recently that you have to have your computer with you at all times)

  12. Hi Melissa. The laptop just happens to be an Acer. Me and my grandson have played some games on it already. We hope to be live in a couple of weeks.

    Possum, thanks for the kind thoughts. I've got a really nasty cough and cold at the moment, but nothing serious. xx

  13. More, Ronni is a MIND READER -- the precise blue a certain set arteest used to shadow that blazing white office is the blue of the dress. It's spectacular. Even though, sadly, the actress missed the grab and the dress didn't come down opening night. That was just a minor hiccough in a huge race to the finish that left our Tech Director at the ER when the curtain came up.

    What the audience doesn't know -- we said many times -- they won't miss... and the dress (though *I* could tell it was supposed to float down ... and saw the missed grab) is luscious even without its full length. I'm sure, when it works, it's spectacular -- and I'm sure this is the first and last time that it didn't.

    Ronni (and Ramona) -- the costumes are WONDERFUL.

    [Oh, and Ulla's blue jacket for her first entrance? The SAME blue as used for the Bialy-Hoo of 1942 poster and Shakespeare's yamulca (sp)... it's like we PLANNED it!!!!]

    [[Can I just pass out now?]]

  14. I was more concerned about it staying up when it was supposed to. I'm sure she can bend the hook so it's easier to get open.

  15. Possum, I'm sorry I missed your question about Brendan. He seems to be doing well; keeping up with his job and his classes. He says he's a bit homesick, but I imagine that comes and goes...