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Dressing In Character

Notes from Theater Class on Costuming.

v Dressing in character is important
Costumes differ from everyday clothes
Even for modern day settings
Fabrics and styles that are attractive in life may be unsuitable for theater
v All costumes must meet certain requirements
d Reveal to audience he characters:
x Personality
x Taste
x Age
x Wealth
x Social position
Enable audience to differentiate between characters
Be appropriate to physical theater
d If small theater-more attention to detail needed
d If large theater- less detail necessary, more exaggerated, simplified
Reflect the mood and style of production
d Comedies=bright colors and light weight fabric
d Tragedies=subdued colors and heavy fabrics
d Period plays must conform to: fashion, line, and material.
Unified with the whole production
Acceptable to the actor
d Not an excuse for actor to be finicky and demanding
d Should fit correctly
Should be designed for any quick costume changes.
v In designing the costumes, consider:
Line -silhouette (projects period)
d 3 types of lines
x Draped line- rectangular material that falls in folds and is pinned or gathered at shoulders or waist.
I.e. Togas (Rome), Chiton (Greece), & Sari (India)
x Fitted- cut and sewn to emphasize the body
I.e. Mens tights, matador costumes, sheath dresses (50s & 60s)
x Combination- mixes of fitted and draped
Line of costume and trim can produce a psychological effect
d Vertical lines:
x Give height
x Imply stateliness
x Dignity
x Strength
d Horizontal lines:
x Add width
x Suggest calmness
d Diagonal lines
x Convey action
x Excitement
d Consider price- usually get away with substitutes
x Examples:
Muslim stenciled with a design instead of Brocade
Wool can be Burlap, monks cloth, terry cloth
Cotton, flannel, or corduroy for velvet
Unbleached Muslim looks like linen at distance
Paper or plastic doilies for lace
d Weight- texture, determines how costume will hang and move
d Color-
x Must either harmonize or contrast with:
x If same as background, the audience looses the actors
x Solid colors are generally used. Prints dont carry far
x Principal characters should wear bolder colors
I.e. Red, black, white
x Groups can wear same colors or hues
x Proper choice in color will convey mood
Black denotes tragedy
Red conveys danger or anger
Blues and greens are restful
Purple suggests royalty
White is innocence and purity
x If proper color is not available- Dye it.
d All decoration must be used sparingly and be slightly exaggerated.
x Trim- buttons and lace
x Accessories- shoes, hats, etc.
x Jewelry- watches, bracelets
d Avoid white footwear
d Avoid glitter
d Use dime stores and thrift shops for accessories
d Make sure there are no anachronism
v Modified Authenticity is simplified costumes for the stage.
I.e. Hats and other accessories redesigned to show face
v Special undergarments are needed for Period Costumes if authentic is to be acquired
v Do your research for the costumes.
Understand why, how, and when
v Accessories should be used sparingly
For uncommon accessories or costumes, use Practice Costumes for rehearsals
v 3 ways to obtain costumes
d Can be pricey
d Send exact measurements and colors to Rental Place
d Obtain rentals at least one week before performance
Making costumes
d Create a sewing committee
x They will make, design, and create patterns for costumes
d Costumes should be durable with wide seams for alterations
d Make skirts about 2 inches longer
d Skirts and sleeves should cover nearest joint if they are to be attractive
d Should be completed one week before performance
v Costume Crew
Assists director with costume design
Makes costume-change charts
Cleans dressing rooms
Helps actors
Presses costumes
Keeps them in good repair

coppied directly from Microsoft Word where I origionaly typed my notes. Also it was organized, with intentions and bullets and all. But MT wont recognize them.


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