Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A costume's evolution

To me, one of the most interesting aspects of a production like "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" is the amount of effort that goes in to making the costumes and set, lights and sound seem effortless and fluid. There are so many seemingly instant changes between the three worlds of Hamlet, the troupe of traveling players, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and we rely on a set and costumes that both evoke the sense of the world we inhabit and are easily transformed.

One of the roles I am playing is Gertrude, and I had the great pleasure of working with costume assistant Karen Heenan to bring the design created by Aetna and Elizabeth Gallagher to life. I thought it would be interesting for you to catch a glimpse of a costume's evolution, from design to pattern to completion.

First came the original Aetna Gallagher design, beautifully rendered by Elizabeth Gallagher, who, if you can believe it, is still a highschool student!

Both the design rendering and the pattern were sent to Karen, who is incredibly adept at using the pattern as a model while still adding in the beautiful details apparent in the original design.

Karen and I made an outing to Jomar, where we picked out black and white brocade to match the production's color scheme.

I only had one fitting, due to time constraints. Here Karen is fitting the muslin bodice mock-up to me.

When I next saw Karen, it was to be given the finished gown, complete with Aetna's original underdress idea and a bodice that laces up the front! A gown fit for a queen!

--Jennifer Summerfield (Gertrude/commedia actor)
photos by www.kylecassidy.com

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