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Re: [F-Costume] Re: community theater (was Aladdin...)

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  • Andrea Schewe
    I enjoyed reading every one s comments about community theater costuming. And, thank you Sarah, for the nice comments about my patterns. I must say, it is
    Message 1 of 11 , Oct 22 5:33 AM
      I enjoyed reading every one's comments about community theater costuming. And, thank you Sarah, for the nice comments about my patterns. I must say, it is usually the community costumer I have in mind when I am designing for Simplicity. I have seen, more than once, volunteer costumers in tears back stage during production week, because they are having a hard time finishing up what they started.
      Yes, one has to budget one's time and resources carefully, when costuming for free. I am a performer. My bachelor degree in in Opera singing. I paid for college by sewing in the professional costume shops in New York.(hence my current career) Also, my mother taught costuming at a college in CA. So, when ever I am in a show, I help sew. I always take care of my own costume and one or two other's that are tricky in one way or another. BUT I will only be "The Costumer" once a year. It is grueling ... but can be rewarding. I like the challenge of getting the best effect possible, but stay within the budget and ability of whatever crew I have. I find careful use of color goes a long way. That's what people see first!
      I felt I had to stand up for community theater costuming, because I have met some non theatrical costumers that don't understand why one would bother to make a costume that is not 100% historically accurate or use polyester or any other short cut. I thought your comment was coming from that perspective. I fully understand the being used and abused by the director and anyone else who doesn't know how hard and how much work it is to costume a show.
      Plus I really enjoy reading what all you folks are up to. It would be fun to meet people in person some day.
      regards, Andrea
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Sarah
      To: F-Costume@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Friday, October 21, 2005 2:17 PM
      Subject: [F-Costume] Re: community theater (was Aladdin...)


      --- In F-Costume@yahoogroups.com, "Andrea Schewe" <aschewe@v...> wrote:
      > So, I need to ask, what is so bad about costuming community theater??
      > [snip]

      Ah, well, you're quite right about the challenging and exhausting
      part, and in some cases the rewarding part also. I suppose the
      slippery slope is that if you don't have good boundaries (which I
      didn't for many years) it can take over your life to where you aren't
      paying as much attention to the things you need to. I finally
      realized, costuming for my local shakespeare co., while very inspiring
      and rewarding, needed to come from a place of abundance in my life,
      which I wasn't having any more at that time. It was past time to back
      off and let others do a share of the work. I also realized I had been
      putting so much more time into it than I ought to, I had led the
      company into a fantasy land of what they could expect from minimally
      stipended costumers. It was a major reality check to change to people
      who had day jobs and kids that they couldn't abandon for three or four
      months. (like I had, oops) Now, I'm more careful about time and
      priorities, I managed to limit my involvement this season and mostly
      stick to the evening and weekend times, while staying on top of paying
      work during the day. Sure made my cash flow a lot more comfortable!
      And I had a lot more fun not being burned out, too.
      I guess there is perhaps a dearth of community costumers? Such that
      once you show that you can do it and are willing, everyone comes
      knocking on your door. So, if that happens, just be careful how much
      you take on, keep the work to fun ratio reasonable!

      And while I'm on, I must say that I love the stuff you design for
      Simplicity! You have made my community theater costuming job easier,
      for sure!





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    • Yvette Rivadeneira
      Thank you, Andrea, for the kind words regarding my turbans, etc... and the positive outlook on costuming community theater... I haven t much experience yet in
      Message 2 of 11 , Oct 22 8:10 PM
        Thank you, Andrea, for the kind words regarding my turbans, etc... and the positive outlook on costuming community theater...
        I haven't much experience yet in this area, and am learning as I go... I have noticed, however, like Sarah mentions, that I get very excited and have a hard time saying "no"... something I think I'll need to learn... I need to keep the priorities straight... I think this particular theater I'm involved in sounds good, after reading all the comments here... They have provided most of the fabrics and other supplies, and they want to fairly distribute the burden of the jobs to be done... Seems like a good crew here... At this point, I'm only costuming shows my daughter gets into (and this is her second show)... I think it'd be very hard to "not" costume a show she is in... But, I guess I'm just not tired yet... but I know I could get there, and burn out... That's what I meant when I said I'm a little frightened of getting buried in it... So, our family just needs to pace her shows! ;)

        Also, like Sarah, I'd like to thank you for all your pattern designing with Simplicity... You are a blessing to a great many of us! :)
        Yvette

        Andrea Schewe <aschewe@...> wrote:
        I haven't met you folks yet and I took a look at the really lovely turbans, etc.
        So, I need to ask, what is so bad about costuming community theater??
        I have at one point in my life worked in the professional costume shops in New York and have also done my share of community theater. In my opinion it is so much more challenging and exhausting and frustrating to costume a show with limited resources and hence, when it turns out well that much more rewarding!! I applaud all community costumers where ever you are.
        Andrea
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: belluthien
        To: F-Costume@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2005 11:56 PM
        Subject: [F-Costume] Re: Aladdin...


        Thanks, Sarah! Yeah, I guess I'm slipping... and I'm hoping I don't
        get buried there... ;)
        Yvette

        --- In F-Costume@yahoogroups.com, "Sarah" <sarahstrong@u...> wrote:
        >
        > Lovely as we'd expect! Careful, though, now you are sliding down the
        > slippery slope of community theater!
        >






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      • Sarah
        ... designing for Simplicity. I ve noticed that your designs tend to strike a very nice balance between a period (or movie-recognizable) look, and simple
        Message 3 of 11 , Oct 23 1:06 PM
          --- In F-Costume@yahoogroups.com, "Andrea Schewe" <aschewe@v...> wrote:
          > it is usually the community costumer I have in mind when I am
          designing for Simplicity.

          I've noticed that your designs tend to strike a very nice balance
          between a period (or movie-recognizable) look, and simple construction
          that is also easy to alter. That Elizabethan ish bodice (there are at
          least three patterns which are variations on the theme) has been great
          for the shows where the director wanted something later than Italian
          Ren (which is my favorite whomper stuff, the straight waistline makes
          it soooo easy to adjust, and I omit doublet/gown sleeves for summer wear)

          > when ever I am in a show, I help sew. I always take care of my own
          costume and one or two other's that are tricky in one way or another.

          We *like* people like you!! I have especially appreciated having
          costume allies in the cast where we have occasionally had problem
          actors who didn't take care of stuff, or who looked in danger of
          taking things home. Nice to have someone keeping an eye out every night!

          > I find careful use of color goes a long way. That's what people see
          first!

          yes! I started by making color swatch cards for the shows I did, by
          going to period artwork and matching the colors I saw there. I used
          Bayeux Tapestry palette for King Lear, and Italian Ren for a lot of
          stuff, it really helps when you go to the fabric store even if you
          haven't matched each color to a specific costume, to know what purple,
          red, blue, green, etc. actually works with the whole look. Nothing so
          jarring as a nice period palette with a sudden acid purple.... :P

          > I felt I had to stand up for community theater costuming,
          because I have met some non theatrical costumers that don't understand
          why one would bother to make a costume that is not 100% historically
          accurate or use polyester or any other short cut. I thought your
          comment was coming from that perspective.

          Ah, yes. I've met that type too. But since I learned period costume in
          the SCA, I started with an understanding of the spectrum of
          authenticity! I love having a client come to me and want a period
          accurate outfit, if they are prepared to pay for the time that takes.
          But in community theater the trick is to develop "whompers" that give
          the look of period clothing, while also being easy and comfortable for
          actors who aren't reenactors to wear. And for wardrobe supers to wash!

          > Plus I really enjoy reading what all you folks are up to. It
          would be fun to meet people in person some day.

          Me too! Same here!
          Closest I can come is to share a link to the Hampshire Shakespeare web
          site where you can see some pix of past seasons.
          http://hampshireshakespeare.org/
          current front page photo is from Young Company Midsummer, with my
          faeries in rags and Alex's rest of the cast.
          In the photo gallery, my shows are 1996-2001, and the Winter's Tale. I
          also did the heraldic surcotes and banners for Richard III (some of
          the background characters are wearing tunics from Lear, which predates
          the web site gallery)
          I realized recently that my ultimate template for the Italian stuff
          was the Zefirelli Romeo and Juliet... *sigh* so worth having on dvd!
          Ah, and there aren't pix from MND at the company site yet, but lots at
          http://www.amherst.edu/~nadahlman/pictures/scripts/browser/browse.php?id=5
          thanks to one of the actors.
        • Sarah
          ... and the positive outlook on costuming community theater... You ve done a great job making lots of variation, so they look interesting as a group, and (as
          Message 4 of 11 , Oct 23 1:12 PM
            --- In F-Costume@yahoogroups.com, Yvette Rivadeneira <belluthien@y...>
            wrote:
            >
            > Thank you, Andrea, for the kind words regarding my turbans, etc...
            and the positive outlook on costuming community theater...

            You've done a great job making lots of variation, so they look
            interesting as a group, and (as far as I can tell without knowing the
            show) also indicating status, which is a very important function of
            the costumes.

            > I think this particular theater I'm involved in sounds good, after
            reading all the comments here... They have provided most of the
            fabrics and other supplies, and they want to fairly distribute the
            burden of the jobs to be done...

            that's very encouraging.
            I sometimes welcome the chance to use up stuff in my stash, but I
            don't mind being reimbursed for it at least some of the time. And it's
            important to have a shopping budget!
            This summer worked better for me because I was pretty careful to
            mostly only work on costumes during specific times (evenings and
            weekends, mostly) when I had helpers coming to work with me. That way
            I didn't stray too far from the paying work I need to get done during
            the day.
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