Sunday, August 15, 2010

"Odyssey" Costumes

I have been asked about my comment that I would like to tweak some of the costumes for "Odyssey."

I have to say that I have the utmost respect for the design choices made by Matt Poitras, the costumer. The overall palette is beautiful, and he has certainly done his research. Most of my criticism is in the mechanics, and all of it, a personal choice.

I like fabrics to be hemmed. In this show, there are a lot of raw edges. I can see making that choice for the "suitors;" theirs have been intentionally ravelled and that works. I do not like the raw edge on the bottom of Nurse's gown, or on the sheer drape she wears over it. I also don't like the edges of the drape closed over her arms. It makes her look confined by the costume. I understand the raw edges on the drapes worn by the Naiads (though I don't like the mauve nylon nightgown worn by one of them)...they are, after all, otherworldly. I also like the cut and rawness of Odysseus' beggar's cape.

I do not like to see a goddess having to adjust her garments in order to move freely. Calypso's first gown is several inches too long It's already dirty around the bottom, and the show has only been open for two performances. Goddesses should never look grubby. A clip on the website shows Calypso in a gown that is open past her breasts. On stage, that gown has been bunched together in the front. I'm guessing that she was falling out of it in its original form. However, a character change has her putting a snug tunic over it, and the bunched part in the front makes her appear bulky while dancing (the dance was brilliant, by the way). I am still trying to figure out why that particular gown is shorter in the back than the front. The only thing I can think of is that it might be made from a round tablecloth. Otherwise, it's a choice about which I'd love to ask the designer.

I like the leather armour very much, but Antinoos has something lumpy under the front of his. I think it is extra length in a stiff leather belt he is wearing beneath the armour. Personally, I would totally get rid of that. He looks as if he has a flashlight in his pocket, if you know what I mean.

I understand that casting in community theater sometimes limits a I can totally overlook the fact that two of the suitors are being played by women. However, they need to wear shorts under their tunics. When they were rolling around on the floor, I saw very skimpy drawers.

Things I loved, besides the leather armour, include the handmade sandals, Odysseus' boots, the helmets, the masks, the oriental-looking costumes in the scene where Odysseus lands on the island where the king and queen wine him and dine him and give him a boat. I also like the fact that the costumer stayed away from the chiton/drape sort of cliche. I really like the reds uniting Odysseus and Telemachus, and the fringed tunics uniting all three members of the royal family.

As I said, I like the costumes over all...there are just a few things I would tweak.

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