- Costume plot for this show [The Laramie Project] including a make up plot for The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge and another costume plot for The 1940s Radio Hour – both in December/January
The Laramie Project
So I did one thing – I did the thing, I plotted out the ‘base’ costumes for The Laramie Project. I’m quite proud. I’m lending a lot to the actors capabilities but ensuring they have the material they need for their extraneous characters. Over 50 characters split across 11-12 actors (I have to be honest, I forget how many actual actors are in this show as we are just starting rehearsals and people have been on vacation or unable to attend just yet, etc. I lose track easily).
Now comes the hard part – how do I make each of their characters identifiable? My friend Liz recommended that on top of their base outfit, every one wears a shirt – possibly a shirt of their choice (with my approval) or a white collared-button down (oxford style, I think?). A shirt can be worn in a multitude of ways and provide the actors with the distinction required between their various characters. I have develop several schemes, which are below, for props that will also add some depth and dimension to their characters.
What did you think? Well, I like it and I guess that’s the only part that matters. My director, assistant director and producer also enjoy my ideas. And I didn’t have to make angel wings. Bonus! Although I had some good ideas of how I wanted them to look but had no idea on how to make them operate. My old partner would’ve been helpful for that but since I can no longer count on that input, I would’ve been at a loss. Maybe some time in the future when/if this show comes back in my purview.
The 1940s Radio Hour
I want to say that I know exactly what I’m doing for this show but I haven’t even read it since the initial read through in February/March. However, I have a general concept that it is in the time period of the 1940s. I’m not sure where I got that clue from, but it’s there and I have it.
I’m kind of a smart ass.
This one I have to say is going to be pure fun – Laramie had a lot of agility in thinking and conceptual design – but this show.. it’s just a joy. I don’t know if it’s just the content of preparing for Christmas, which is exactly when we’ll be rehearsing, or that I love this decade. The clothing and style lines works on a majority of figures and makes every one look classy and classic. That’s a hard thing to do now a days, and that’s something I tried to tackle in my Laramie plotting because.. I didn’t want people to receive the impression that it was tied to current day.
I want to say the above with a caveat because it’s not about respecting our current socio-political environment. I am 100% against everything that is occurring in the basic civil/human rights movement and the backwards step this country has taken. I am also for 100% honoring the past – including the people of Laramie, specifically the non-heterosexual people who lived in Laramie. In this production, I could’ve recommended making all of the non-hetero characters carry a standard that hosted their pride. But they weren’t prideful. And I think that’s the difference between the two shows and the paradigm I faced when dressing both of them.
The characters of the 1940s, while gimicky and cliche, each come with an internal onus that reflects a sense of pride of how they are and how they present themselves to society. All of the non-hetero characters in Laramie are hidden and fearful. They know who they are, so there’s a more minimal onus to knowing thyself (and be true, Queen) but that didn’t exist in our world until probably immediately after Matthew Shepard. Movements had started in the 70s but I think when this first hate crime against the non-hetero population gained a huge foothold in shaping their Pride.
What I’m trying to say is that while I have not done a lot of research into the particular show that I am dressing, I do do preliminary research and considering my breadth of general knowledge (yes, I am humble) I’ve developed concepts. Concepts I think that photograph well, provide an ease of use for the actors, and meet the standards of the shows history and historic precedence set before my time. It’s a lot to consider and it’s an unusual approach but it’s mine and it makes me proud. Let it be a consideration for yours in the future.
‘Til next time.