Amalgamation of Life, Costume Designer

Costumes and more costumes

  • 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).

Laramie Costume plot

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.

Laramie Costume plot

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.

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