About This Blog

I really like theatre, and I like writing and talking about it.

This blog is mostly about my relationship with theatre, the moments that make me fall in love with this art form, and the times when we don't always get along.

I'll be writing about things that I like, that I think are good and interesting and want to share. I will probably also write about things that I don't quite get, or think are wierd. I may also write about things that aren't theatre, strictly speaking, because it's my blog and I can.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Hardest Job

I was recently chatting with one of my fellow actors after a rehearsal at which we'd done some costume fittings, and I mentioned how pleased I was with my costume, because:

a) I like the way I look in it
b) It is what I would have envisioned for the character
c) It's super comfortable

She and and I were discussing the fact that often your costuming in a show doesn't flatter your own personal vanity, but you have to put that aside for the good of the show. My favorite actors to costume are the ones who, even though they may not look cool or sexy in their costume, love it anyway because it enhances the character and fits the life of the play.

I once had professor in college who told us that scenic designers are listed ahead of costume designers in the program because their job is harder. Would it surprise you to hear that he was a scenic designer himself? I call bullshit. You're never going to hear a theater space complaining to its designer that the set makes it look fat. Costume designers have to deal with the personalities and hangups and physical comfort of the people we're designing for. You can't just hammer an ill-fitting wig into place like you can a set piece (although I've sure had people try).

I love reading theatre news on Playbill.com, and they have a feature they run on Mondays where they interview an actor, and one of the questions is always "what is the worst costume you've ever had to wear?" You don't hear them asking about the worst prop or sound cue.

Sorry, actors, but it's not always about you. We designers have to negotiate so many personalities; we're trying to keep you happy AND the director happy AND deal with things like quick changes or making the continuity of the story work. You may not like the way you look, but some times it does not serve the story for you to look cute. Every story needs its clowns and villains and grotesques. What's important is to do what's best for the show. And if that's looking ridiculous or ugly, then do it, and enjoy it! That's why we act, anyway, to be the things onstage we can't be in real life.

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