Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Guest Lecturer

I just had a gig teaching the teens at The Palace Summer Workshop the care and feeding of costumes. Or, actually, the care and non-feeding of costumes.

I showed them how to consolidate each costume onto two hangers, connected by a grocery bag hanging over the both of them, containing hat and shoes. I reminded them not to eat or drink anything while in costume, and to hang it up.

I explained that costumes are not interchangeable...that each was designed for the individual character, and, if they like someone else's better, then they should have auditioned for that role.

I told them that people in other eras wore their clothes differently than we do, today. If you are wearing a hoop skirt, you have to walk differently. A flapper dress is not just a dress, it's a social statement. I told them to research their show, and the time and place in which it was set, and reminded them that Google is their friend.

I told them that their costumes define the setting for the play, as well as the character they are playing. I explained that, if they didn't wear them exactly as directed, they would lose their audience, because those watching would be distracted from the action by anachronisms.

I promised them that, if they needed a repair, somebody would do it for them...all they had to do was to tell the Wardrobe Mistress.

I pointed out that they, as actors, are rewarded by applause from the audience, but techies are rewarded with respect from actors.

I reminded them that we are all Assistant Story-tellers, and no one is more important than anyone else in the production hierarchy. Except the Director. He or she is God, in the Universe of the Play.

I hope I didn't leave anything out.


  1. "Just remember that it's just a theatrical expression. It doesn't mean REALLY break a leg...yours or anyone else's!"

    ~"The Best Christmas Pageant Ever"

  2. Hope it was a good time for all and that they will remember what you said. I think most teens I know that know you respect and listen to you.

  3. But, most of these kids, I had never met...

  4. "remember to turn your cell phones off."

  5. "If you put your feet on the stage, we will yank you up here, slap some makeup on you, and put you in the show. why should your feet have all the fun?"

    Sam Bass is a very small theater, with 50 seats and the stage about 18" above the floor.