Fabric, fabric everywhere but not a drop to sew

Greetings all,

I am the head costumer, Lauren, and I am looking forward to working on this show.  I’ve been sewing for 20ish years and doing costumes for staged productions for at least 5ish.  I started sewing in Girl Scouts to get my sewing badge but craftiness is in my blood and that was just an excuse to start learning.  In high school and college I did a lot of anime cosplaying and also joined the SCA for a while.  Right now, I’m a stay-at-home mom and mostly sew for my daughter.  Right this minute I have a She-ra costume I’m working on for her that I’m adapting from a Tinkerbell costume pattern by Simplicity.

Yesterday, I went to Joann Fabrics to start buying patterns and look again for fabrics for Gertrude and Ophelia’s dresses.  There was a sale on Vogue patterns and there was one in particular that I really felt I could modify into a wonderful dress for our Gertrude.  The problem I run into time and again is finding the right FABRIC for a costume.  The choices are so limited, especially if you’re looking for something in the wrong “season.” In this case we are looking to do a multi-colored effect and it also needs to look pretty opulent and flowy.  Special occasion fabric is there year-round so I didn’t think I was going to have a problem finding something for this dress.  Each character is going to have a color associated with them and Gertrude’s is red.  I found Scarlet, Tango Red and Bordeaux in their Casa Collection special occasion fabrics (also on sale, luckily for longer than the patterns were) and they would all go great together in the final dress… if only they had the right fabric styles I needed in all the colors!

fabric aisles

So many choices, but are any right?

I looked online and they don’t even have the Scarlet color at all on their online shop, and apparently you need to buy 2 yards minimum online and I really only need 1 yard for the bordeaux in the same fabric type that I can get the scarlet in at the store.  Budget is tight and I don’t know that I can use that extra for something else.  So what am I to do?  Scarlet and bordeaux need to be the same type or the dress will not look right.  Will I pick a different color?  Will I check other online fabric stores for similar colors in the correct fabric type?  Will I dye something? Or will I learn to weave my own fabric?  Stay tuned and you may just find out.

-Lauren (Head Costumer)


Ah, a Renaissance Man

I was lucky enough to have my godson come for a visit with his parental units, and in deliberating what to watch, we decided upon the 1994 DeVito flick “Renaissance Man”.  And I was THRILLED to recall this movie – if you havent seen it, you should check it out. Its got that 90’s “feel good” thing (and also is a little light on the story/acting like other 90s flicks)… and one of the main ideas is the use of teaching Shakespeare as a means of encouraging personal confidence and self-actualization.

What could be more timely?  My favorite things about the movie also relate directly to Hamlet: a delightful cadence about Gertrude, and a fun little rap about Hamlet‘s plot (written by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch’s Mark Wahlberg).  So… cant go wrong, right?  LOL

The movie is a great look at how the Bard is interpreted, and how Shakespeare’s work, words, and ideas can inspire and influence your life.  And for those who have never seen a play before, what joy and fascination the theatre creates for those who are open to it (they end up at a Canadian production of Henry V, and a delightful scene with the St. Crispin’s Day speech follows shortly thereafter).

If you’ve never seen the movie, you may wanna check it out.  While I have a strong concept in mind, I have to say… watching the rap again made me want to consider how far I can push the envelope…

Until next time, I leave you with this:
Hamlet’s mamma shes the queen
Buys it in the final scene
Drinks a glass of funky wine
Now she’s Satan’s valentine…

-Julya (director)

Vintage look & feel!

Hello blog readers!

This is Alex one of the costumers for Hamlet/R&G. I have spent a frightening amount of time recently looking at vintage pictures of fashion and hair from the 1920s/30s/40s. Part of this is for the show (think vintage inspired) and part of it is from my own obsession. The 1920s were such a great time for fashion, there was the explosion of women, suddenly women were liberated from dull structures and no makeup and they came out with a bang. Hair was chopped, as the bob soared in population (as a bob-wearer I appreciate my history), women began wearing ox red lipstick and wearing rouge in public. Hem lengths lifted (ankles and calves gasp!) and stockings became more of a statement and less of a nuisance. When you get to the late 20s the flapper look hit and that’s when we see the “classic 20s” look of a shapeless shift flapper dress. There are some true works of beauty in the flapper dresses, we aren’t talking crappy target Halloween costumes (no shame guys I’ve bought one too) but works of art (Exhibit A B and C).

If you are looking for some 1920s inspiration below are some of my favorite 1920s looks!

PS- Is anyone else completely psyched for the fantastic fashion of The Great Gatsby (May 10th here I come!)

Modcloth’s beautiful 1920s inspired section!
Every fashionista’s idol- Coco Chanel
Some seriously beautiful pieces!
Downton’s wonderful 1920s fashion (my favorite part of this depressing season)
Gatsby fashion!
More 1920s inspiration!

On that note I’m off to work on a borrow list for the show I should have finished. Hopefully next update we’ll have some exciting thrift shop purchases!

Stay classy folks,
Alex (head costumer for Players and Ensemble; assistant for all others)

From our youngest tech member

Hey, it’s Serenity! I’m probably the youngest tech working on R&G and Hamlet and I really cannot wait to work on this fantastic show. And my title is pretty cool: “Running Crew Chief/ Ensemble Cheif/ Whatever Julya Wants Me To Do” 🙂

-Serenity (you name it, I do it)

Preparing for last read-through…

Getting prepped for today’s read-through. Super excited that nearly all of the cast will be there for the final read-through of Hamlet before we dive head first into rehearsals. So many things to get ready though. I don’t envy what Julya goes through on a regular basis! But I know that it will all be worth it once we start getting into the reading.
 -Deirdre (SM)

Rehearsal Calendars!?!?

When I was acting, I had occasion to complain in my head that I was called too often or not often enough to rehearsal; sometimes it was as if I was being called to sit and wait on the “leads”, or I was only going to have a few opportunities to get everything right.  I was the kind of actor who worried that I wouldnt have enough time to explore my character, or my work with my scene partner(s)… so less rehearsal was more stressful than too much.

Now, as a director, my view on rehearsal calendars is significantly different.  But of course!  Trying to coordinate 30+ people, their calendars, their spouses or parental units and their calendars, plus trying to give people days off, and – wait for it – trying to also make sure that we have enough rehearsal time… its insane!

As an actor, I always tried to get conflicts in right away, but sometimes life happened.  As a director, I keep asking myself “why does life keep happening to MY actors?”  LOL
Of course, trying to direct 2 shows in 7 weeks is a daunting task, even if we werent doing something by the Bard!
Well, I may be crazy, but at least I know that my actors are seen every week, their conflicts are accounted for, and we now have a plan of attack that starts in earnest May 13!

-Julya (director)

Prop work has begun!

Work on props is coming along nicely.  We are compiling lists of things we have to have and things we would like to have.  Then breaking those two lists into things we already have and things to look for.  We have started looking through thrift stores, attics, and yard sales for items and ideas!  That is the most fun aspect of prop searches.  Not being able to find (or make) the perfect prop you have in your head is so frustrating.  Then it helps to bounce ideas off of the rest of the crew, the actors, friends, family, and anyone who will listen, really!
Propsmistress (and Ensemble)