Monday, May 31, 2010

Costuming "Fashion"

Marion. In the interior play, she is the ingenue, Gertrude. She is also, as you can see by her shoes, a ballerina, so her costume has to allow a lot of freedom of movement.

Kim (Col Howard), Nan (Mr Trueman), Pat (Mr Tiffany), Richard (the Count), Rita (Seraphina Tiffany). Col Howard is the love interest, which explains his soft colour. However, the road to true love has to traverse the swamps of doubt, so there are hints of darkness. Mr Trueman, as his name suggests, is the hero of the interior play, and so is dressed in light colours. Seraphina is also a dancer, so her dress needed to be as "dancey" as Gertrude's. Seraphina is as pretentious as her mother and dumb as a box of rocks.

Pat (Mr Tiffany) and Suzanne (Mr Snobson). Mr Snobson is a villain in the interior piece and Suzanne is a bit of a lush in the Mask and Wig Society, hence she is dressed all in black. Mr Tiffany has also done bad things, but his heart is in the right place, so his black is relieved by some sparkle and light colour.

Richard (The Count) and Evelyn (Mrs Tiffany). The Count is a big phony, and also a villain, in both plays. He is pretentious and passionate, and wears the beret constantly. One imagines he probably wears it to bed. Mrs Tiffany is pretentious to the point of ridiculousness, hence her fussy dress.

Jean (Millinette) and the Count. Jean's dress needs to be simple so that the addition of a little apron will transform her into a French maid.


Here's the thing. All these women are members of The Ladies' Mask and Wig Society, an all-female drama club. The lone man is Richard, a director imported to direct their first musical. The musical is based on the first play by an American woman that was actually produced in America. That is the play called, "Fashion." Richard has written the musical, and has been rehearsing all the women individually, and this is their first rehearsal, all together.

Now, Richard's individual rehearsals have been of a rather personal nature, and all the women find out just how personal during the course of the play.

So the costuming trick was to dress the actors in contemporary clothing that would suggest the characters they play in the interior piece. Hence, all the women playing men in the interior play are wearing some sort of pants or leggings.

And then there's the set. No, there is nothing wrong with your colour settings; it really is that interesting assortment of greens. Everyone needs to stand out against it, without clashing with it. Except for the Lady's Tarpaulin, which needed to clash.

This was definitely a challenge, and I am really glad that each character has to have only one costume. Coming up with more than that might have been a nightmare.

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