By Morgan Givney
There are multiple elements which contribute to creating a theatre experience. Lighting, sound, set design, and costumes are a few of the most basic. Even these basic parts of theatre play a large role in creating the production and portraying the intended understanding and mood.
In the upcoming theatre production, “Is He Dead?” costume is used to aid both the audience members as well as actors and actresses. “Costumes set the time period,” said Allyson Moon, associate director of theatre. Audience members get a better sense of the setting by observing what the characters are wearing and linking it back to other elements of the play.
When selecting a costume, there are a variety of things to look for. “Does it express the character, is there uniformity to the design of all costumes, and are they tied together? The style of the play should be considered and it should fit the actor appropriately,” said Moon.
“Costumes of a show really create style and character and more important than period. They should reflect who I am or what I want to express,” said Roger Moon, director of theatre.
This play is set in 1846. The common dress of this time includes men wearing tail coats and cut aways, and the women wearing very full skirts. The women in the play will be wearing hoop skirts. “We had learn how to properly sit in the hoop skirts, it adds a whole new level of difficulty beyond learning the lines,” said Lauren Dentscheff, theatre education freshman, playing the role Marie in the production.
Costumes in this production invite the audience to have a deeper understanding of the characters. “There’s a change in the economic level of the people in the play. From the first to second act, characters go from modest income to being wealthy,” said Moon.
Aside from assisting the audience, costume helps the actors as well. “I feel my character comes full when I’m in costume,” said Dentscheff.
“Costumes should express who (characters) are in a deeper sense than they even know,” said Roger Moon.
“Costumes should support work the actor is doing, help actors feel like their characters and should help the actor transform into character. I would hope that happens to the audience as well,” said Moon.
Costume also adds an unexpected twist for audience members. “There are multiple people in disguises,” said Moon. A male actor will be playing a female role. “The character is very busty,” said Moon. This provided an artistic challenge for Moon who is collaborating with students in costuming class to create the costumes. They had to creatively find a way to make the illusion of a man having a curvy female figure, while remaining true to other elements of the play, such as the time period.
While there are challenges in creating costumes, they are very important to the show, actors, and the audience. “Each character is a different costume, your character is your costume,” said Dentscheff.
Morgan Givney is a freshman with an undecided major. You may e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.