Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Lonely Heart - Why stage costumes aren't as well made as they could be...

I reckon one of the reasons that theatre costumes aren't as carefully constructed as other kinds is this - you know you have an event in two months so you make a gorgeous polonaise or an open robe. It's a push to get it done, right? But you do it because you are committed, and it will be fabulous :)
In theatre - you have an opening night in six weeks and you have to make or find 27 costumes. It's just math. Pure and simple - had we been able to start 6 months ago it would be different, but noone knew then the show was happening. One rarely does, or if so, who is wearing what so noone to fit.
Now, if we get a second run at this one (which I am hopeful bordering on confident about) some may get replaced, others a second go at finishing properly. But on the whole, admitting this is like, I hope, giving a game away that noone in the audience would recognise. There is nothing on the outside of these costumes that is really 'wrong', no machine stitching where there ought to be hand stitching etc. No serging/overlocking anywhere visible.
So hopefully, all will be well. I am down to the last bits and bobs - the do have a habit of taking longer than we think but I guess if all else fails I can pop down to a costume hire place and source a few wigs, a priest's dickie and any other last minute things I forgot!


  1. Totally agree with the time thing! Youv'e also pointed out to me many times that it's just a different beast than personal costuming - it needs to look big and bold, and convey a message.

    I've actually been super impressed about how historically accurate you have made this show. I thought a lot more corners would be cut to facilitate speedy changes etc.

  2. Ta. I'm still me - I cannot abide anachronisms unless I have no choice and the closer I can get to perfection the happier I am :)

  3. Wow, it's so nice to know that I am doing things right! I am going through exactly the same process with The Crucible. Even though it's a high school production, I wanted fantastic costuming. Well, we are making some, renting some, and borrowing some. And the stuff we make is exactly as you say - very accurate LOOKING, but quick and dirty on the inside. Thanks for the post.

  4. Way to go Alexandra! I love the Crucible. My advice is to make sure everyone has the right headgear. Hats and bonnets and caps are so important in period costume - probably even more than the clothes :)