Saturday, October 22, 2005

chef costumière et chef habilleuse

Julia was costume and wardrobe mistress for a play we attended this weekend.

The play was Salmon Pursuits, an original play, written and directed by a fellow student Adam Nicolai. He was very pleased with her work. And much of it there was.

There were close to a hundred items on the costume list for 18 characters. The play is fast-paced, a long one-act with a dozen or more short scenes and near instant transitions.

The theatre was an outdoor pavilion. Backstage was the back of the audience space. Not easy for the costume designer to accommodate.

B. helped. Trips to second-hand stores and a costume rental place. Lots of decisions.

Julia's boyfriend, Ben, did the sets and they too were excellent, particularly an elevator which reversed into the front door of a house. Set design was difficult. Everything had to be broken down and removed after each rehearsal.

The play is marvelous. So fully developed and with such dramatic impact that, not knowing it for a fact, one wouldn't dream believe Adam to be an undergraduate still learning the ropes.

The production was a benefit for the YMCA where it was performed. The cast and production crew were a mix of Goucher students and members of the local community.

A Goucher press release gives more information about the production, but does not indicate the play's interesting nuances -- particularly its ambivalent approach to the dominant theme of realizing one's true nature and refusing to make compromises in order to just get along. The two main characters who each possess this romantic ideal do not conform to the usual dramatic clichés -- particularly in that their dreams are ludicrously impractical.

I almost forgot. Friday's performance was an amazing feat. The weather was pretty foul: 50 degrees with light rain and a little north breeze. The pavilion is a large space, open on all four sides. It had tarps hung only at the "stage" end. The audience and actors (who were also production crew) were sorely challenged by the cold and the wet, but they had other challenges as well mostly having to do with performing off-campus in a non-theatrical environment. Adam is quoted on this in the Goucher press release: “Originally, I wanted to put the show up at Goucher, but that wasn’t possible. My dad told me that he has a special place in his heart for traveling players, and that he could die happy if I and a group of my own could carry on the tradition and put on a production that captured that spirit. He went on and on about Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland—that whole ‘let’s-put-on-a-show,’ ‘pull-yourself-up- by-your-own-bootstraps’ mentality. And that just really hit home.”

It all came off very well despite the difficulties the company faced and discomforts we all endured opening night.

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