Production

Costuming with a Vision

Written by Lindsay Price

Episode 125: Costuming with a Vision

Does the thought of costuming a show fill you with dread? Are you always resorting to colourful t-shirts and jeans because that’s all you have time for? Holly Beardsley will lead you through costuming with a vision. The way you costume your show is an important part of the directing process.

Show Notes


pauper princess

Episode Transcript

Welcome to TFP – The Theatrefolk Podcast – the place to be for Drama teachers, Drama students, and theatre educators everywhere.

I’m Lindsay Price, resident playwright for Theatrefolk.

Hello! I hope you’re well. Thanks for listening.

And we have arrived at Episode 125! I’m a poet and I don’t even know it. Wooh!

You can find any links for this episode in the show notes at theatrefolk.com/episode125.

Today, we are talking costumes and not just putting clothes on actors but actually costuming with a vision. I will fully admit – full disclosure here – when I directed shows, when I used to direct, costumes were pretty low on my list. If I could use colorful t-shirts, that’s kind of what we went with.

It’s really funny because my mom is this amazing sewer. When I was a kid, we always had homemade Halloween costumes and I don’t remember it ever bothering me all that much because they were really cool costumes. I had this Raggedy Ann costume that I used for years. So, she’s this amazing sewer and knitter and quilter and none of that has passed into my genes. I have none of it!

Costumes were always terrifying, maybe? I don’t know, an afterthought, certainly, and that is something that it should not be. I’m always big about saying that the theatrical experience is a visual one and that means you’ve got to pay attention to your costumes and what characters wear has to have the same kind of importance as to what they say.

Have you ever been to a show where you were totally distracted by out of place costumes? Or a show that was trying to be very period and yet, you know, all the guys are wearing modern shoes? Or a show where it was clear there hadn’t been any thought into the costumes? I think that we need to do that, right? Because the way you costume a show is an important part of the process.

And so, our guest today is going to fill you in on how to costume a show with vision. Holly Beardsley wears a lot of hats. She’s a director; a playwright and we have her play, The Pauper Princess, which she’s going to talk about; and she’s also one of our Drama Teacher Academy instructors. We just opened her course, the Do-It-All Director’s Introduction to Costuming which covers every aspect from vision to color blocking to a step-by-step guide for sewing a dirndl skirt. It is an awesome extravaganza or an extravaganza – that, too.

But, first, vision – take it away, Holly!

LINDSAY: So, Holly does a couple of things for Theatrefolk; not only is she a playwright, she is the author of The Pauper Princess, correct?

HOLLY: Correct!

LINDSAY: Wait a minute. No, no, that’s not it! And Holly is also a Drama Teacher Academy instructor. Her course is – oh, let’s see if we can do it, all right – the Do-It-All Director’s Introduction to Costuming.

HOLLY: Correct!

LINDSAY: Yay!

HOLLY: It’s a long title. Long titles are fun.

LINDSAY: Well, I get a candy cane. Yay! Good for me. I get a treat.

But, Holly, for the Do-It-All Director’s Introduction to Costuming, you really ran the gambit with this course. It sort of goes from, like, costuming a period show to costuming a large show to the most extensive glossary, I think, of every piece.

HOLLY: Yeah. Well, it’s coming from the director’s point of view, you have to know everything in your show. And so, you kind of do the same way with your costuming. You’re going from bolts to nuts.

LINDSAY: You know what, I don’t know how many high school and middle school drama teachers have any background in costuming.

HOLLY: No, you know, I’m lucky. My mother’s a costumer so that’s really where my background comes in and being, you know, based in art. But, yeah, not everyone has that luck.

LINDSAY: Why is it important in the high school and middle school genre – genre, area?

HOLLY: Age. Age – that, too.

LINDSAY: Why do you think it’s important to take on? To have a concept? A costuming concept? What does that do to your show?

HOLLY: Well, I think it just adds another layer – another layer on top of it. It’s the same with the kids when you’re talking about characterization. You know, you’re not just saying, “Walk across the stage.” You’re walking across the stage for a reason – because your character wants to walk across the stage. So, when you add concept to your costuming, it just makes it fuller and the kids see that.

LINDSAY: Also, too, I think, I know – in the very little acting work I’ve done – that, when you put on a costume, that’s like the final piece.

HOLLY: That’s when you feel it.

LINDSAY: Yeah!

HOLLY: It’s especially true with kids because sometimes they do need that last visual piece and, you know, they’re very good and they can probably imagine quite a bit, but sometimes it helps to just put on the cape, you know?

LINDSAY: Yeah, because then it makes you, I mean, you’re not you anymore. Sometimes, too, with pieces, I’m sure, with costuming period pieces, that a girl in crinoline or a corset takes on a whole different persona. Do you find that?

HOLLY: Exactly. It changes your whole movements too because, once you’ve put on that corset, you know, we’re not built for that anymore. We all kind of slump now, especially middle school students and high school students, we all have that slump – even their teachers, we have that slump. The instant you put on a corset, it just changes your posture and that posture changes your character. And so, it’s almost integral. Plus, it’s fun. It’s fun to put on that corset and that crinoline and that big tutu. You know, speaking from the girls’ point of view, it’s just fun. The boys enjoy it too actually. I’ll tell you. I have a lot of drag in my shows. It’s fun and they always complain but they’re really smiling while they do it so – I don’t know – I think they like it. They like the tutus.

LINDSAY: Well, why not? Isn’t it something they never get to wear or be in their daily life?

HOLLY: Exactly. You know, unless they have a really interesting side life that I’m unaware of, but it gives them some fun. It’s that dream and that play – that fun part.

LINDSAY: I think that, so often, in the teenagers, they just get it drummed out of them that they’re not supposed to be silly and they’re supposed to dress in a very specific way.

HOLLY: Yes.

LINDSAY: So, why not put on the tutu? Go ahead, do it!

HOLLY: Yeah!

LINDSAY: I’m raising my fist here. Nobody can see this.

All right. So, today, we’re going to talk about sort of this notion. This is right out there to all you high school, middle school drama teachers out there who don’t have any background in costuming. What we’re going to do, we’re going to talk about how to come up with a costuming vision. You come up with a vision for how you’re going to direct the show – or you should; when you read the play, you should come up with a directing thrust or a concept – and it’s just as important, isn’t it? To come up with a costuming vision.

HOLLY: It is, it informs everything you do in your costuming because, if you’re just treating it as clothes, I mean, then it doesn’t really matter, then it’s not costuming, that’s just dressing – you know, that’s just t-shirts and jeans and stuff like that. When you get into costuming, there’s got to be some concept behind it.

An example would be – well, one of my shows – one on Theatrefolk, The Pauper Princess, it was very teenage and period at the same time because it was, you know, Renaissance and teenage. So, we combined those two together and that created our concept, our vision, and that informed everything else we did.

LINDSAY: Hmm. Awesome. We’ll talk more about that in a second.

Let’s talk about what the first step is. If a teacher is going to create a costuming vision, what is their first step?

HOLLY: Well, just like you said for when you’re doing your direction, you read the show – that’s obviously step one. Read the show and find the concept of what you want to do. And then, see how you can apply that to your costuming. That really just comes up with basically you have to have a thesis for your show – like, what it means.

LINDSAY: Okay. So, you were just talking about The Pauper Princess and about how it’s based on The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain.

HOLLY: Yes.

LINDSAY: And your version takes place in Elizabethan England. The princess is actually Queen Elizabeth I.

HOLLY: That’s correct.

LINDSAY: Oh, I got three today. Oh, I’m so good! And so, we have that period piece, but then you also said it’s kind of teenage-y. What does that mean?

HOLLY: Well, I really wanted to focus on Queen Elizabeth as a teenager because that’s when Mark Twain’s book took place – when she was still a teenager. Of course, it was focused on her younger brother but we wanted to go up a little bit and go to the teenage years and that really struck a chord with our students as well. And so, we just had to kind of combine teenage and Elizabethan. But, to do that, we had to look at what teenagers like. The way we did that is we thought about the teenaging dress which is things like – well, at least now – it’s a lot of leggings, it’s a lot of colors, a lot of fun things like that, big accessories.

LINDSAY: Okay. So, you were combining eras.

HOLLY: Exactly! A little bit of anachronism in there.

LINDSAY: Ah… Okay. So, did you have, like, a catchphrase or something to define the vision when you were explaining it maybe to your students?

HOLLY: Yes, I definitely did. I actually went, since it’s kind of a Trading Places situation, it’s a Trading Places plot…

LINDSAY: Story.

HOLLY: Story, thank you. I went for the teenage Trading Places which is Freaky Friday. I don’t know how many people have seen Freaky Friday the movie. There’s actually been two of them.

LINDSAY: I know. I’m just stating myself because I’m like, “Jodie Foster version!”

HOLLY: And Jamie Curtis and Lindsay Lohan – eek!

LINDSAY: Ugh!

HOLLY: But, yeah, we did Freaky Friday meets Elizabethan England which was quite a concept to take over but it was lots of fun.

LINDSAY: Do you think that teachers should come up with a sentence or a phrase or a word that sort of defines the concept and the vision they’re trying to put forth?

HOLLY: Yes, I couldn’t agree more. It really helps when you want to think, “Does this work for what I’m doing?” if you’re looking at a specific costume piece or even if you’re past costuming and you’re looking at set pieces, if you look back to that one thesis, that one idea, that one statement, that keeps everyone on the same page and it keeps you on the same design. I think it’s helpful.

 

 

LINDSAY: Yeah. Okay. So, yours is Freaky Friday meets Elizabethan England. So, that’s taking the two eras of Elizabethan and modern teen, right?

HOLLY: Yes.

LINDSAY: How did you choose costume pieces to reflect both eras?

HOLLY: Well, I took the fun things out of both of them. Like I said, I looked at the teenagers and that was really all about the bright colors, the leggings, the fun things, the Converse – you’ve got to have a Converse shoe whenever you’re looking at the high top sneaker. And then, I also looked at the really fun things from the Elizabethan era and that’s like really cool hats, really cool head pieces, the big collar – everyone remembers the big lace collar – corsets, of course, doublets – those fun things and just kind of mashed them together where they looked appropriate. I guess that’s the key. You don’t want to just literally mash them together because that might end up a little scary. You do a beautiful Elizabethan dress, but you have a peek of a neon legging underneath or you do a male outfit with a doublet and, like, a really great hat, but he has Converse shoes on. It’s those small little anachronistic touches that add that teenage flair without making it junky.

LINDSAY: I think that’s an excellent point because I have a very clear memory of seeing a production of The Caucasian Chalk Circle and they were doing that. It was so much of anachronistic, you know, at one point, a soldier walked in and he had a foam cowboy hat on, and all of the war paraphernalia, the costumes were from different wars and it just became so much so quickly that it was noise as opposed to costuming.

HOLLY: Yes, you have to make sure that it’s chosen, you know? Not just like, “Oh, yeah, it’s anachronistic and that’s what we meant by all of that.” Like, you have to make sure it doesn’t look like it’s been done by accident. You know, sometimes, that happens where they’re like, you want them to see that you made a choice here and you don’t want it to look like you just messed up, you know? I don’t know if that makes sense. Like, the kid forgot their shoes and this was just a mess-up because I’ve seen productions like that where I’m like, “I don’t know if they did that on purpose or not.” You want to have purpose. You want to have a choice.

LINDSAY: Yeah. Okay. So, let’s go back. First, we’re creating a vision. First step in the vision is we want to read the play. And then, we want to come up with that concept and then we want to come up with some sort of a phrase or a sentence in which you can really distil down this concept and then figure out costume pieces that are going to put that into practice.

HOLLY: Exactly.

LINDSAY: Are there some questions that would be good for drama teachers to ask themselves when they’re thinking about their vision?

HOLLY: Sure. You do the same things that you would do with characterization.

LINDSAY: Isn’t that funny? You know what, that’s an important thing to point out because, if they’re already doing it for studying the play, to say, “You know what, you just do the same things for costuming,” and then maybe it’s not so hard to do.

HOLLY: Yeah, we’re already doing this as directors, and you don’t want to reinvent the wheel. You want to just do what you’re already doing and now apply that to costuming.

LINDSAY: Absolutely.

HOLLY: Because we’ve got a lot going on. Like it says, it’s the do-it-all director.

LINDSAY: Well, I think that’s every high school director who has to do everything. I think costuming is one of those things that often gets left by the wayside because where does the time go?

HOLLY: Definitely.

LINDSAY: Okay. I interrupted you. Let’s do it again. So, what are some questions? What are those questions? What do you think are the most important questions when you’re looking at a play from a costuming vision point of view – costuming point of view?

HOLLY: Sure. I mean, like I said, I just do the same kind of characterization things like, you know, “What is your name?” meaning, “What is the name of the show?” You know, “How old are you? Where are you from? When are you from?” That kind of thing, just to start, and that goes with, like, when we were talking about with The Pauper Princess, that goes to the name, “The Pauper Princess” who we’re focusing on. How old you are is basically who you’re trying to do the show for. Like, when I said we had that teenager aspect, that’s the “how old you are” and so on and so forth.

LINDSAY: It’s important to note. Would you suggest that teachers sort of, as they’re looking at, as they’re asking those questions particularly of, “Where are you from? When are you from?” like, where, as in is it being placed in England or is it being placed on a boat or is it in America and “When are you from?” is it modern? Is it Elizabethan? Do you think it’s a good idea for teachers to start identifying costume pieces?

HOLLY: Yes.

LINDSAY: Yeah? Okay.

HOLLY: Yes, definitely, because you want to be working this out as you go along. It helps your distillation – like, distilling your big thesis, your statement, what-not, what-have-you, your buzzwords. It helps to get there if you’re thinking about those costume pieces as you go. Like what I said about teenager and you just have to think about teenager what that means to you as a costumer, what pieces that means.

LINDSAY: Yeah, and what teenagers wear. What about for teachers out there who say they want to do a Shakespeare but they don’t know what pieces are called? What’s a good step for them?

HOLLY: Research. I know that sounds kind of silly but you can find a lot of things online and just looking up the actual time – like, looking up Shakespeare’s time and looking at what they wore, look at the portraits that the royals were wearing, what they were wearing – that’s where you will see that kind of thing. Also, our good old friend Wikipedia is very helpful. I mean, we talked about glossaries, Wikipedia is very helpful. I mean, sometimes, they’re interesting on what they’ll say maybe one thing that maybe isn’t the same in other circles, but it gets you an idea. It gets you started on what that is. Like when we were talking about that lace collar, I mean, it is just a lace collar but they have different names for it in different places. Someone might call it a Shakespeare collar; someone might call it an Elizabethan collar; someone might call it a Queen Elizabeth collar. You have to just look in various places online. Really, the internet is your friend. I mean, obviously, you already know that because you’re listening to a podcast. But the internet is your friend, if that made sense.

LINDSAY: Yeah, and I think so too is that, when you’re looking online, the vast number of visuals that just didn’t exist before, like, every era I think you can look up and just, once you identify, you know, where you want to place your play and where it’s from, when it’s from, who your audience is, what is this play, if you just start looking up visuals from a specific era, you’re going to get a good grounding.

HOLLY: A truckload.

LINDSAY: Yeah, absolutely!

HOLLY: A truckload of images. It’s as simple as saying, “1600s fashion.” Just write that anywhere into your search window and you might get some interesting things that are not quite the 1600s but you will get an idea of what is the accepted look of the 1600s. It might not always be completely accurate but it will have that flavor and that feeling. Really, that’s more important in theatre. Accuracy is not as important as you think. It’s that look that you want to see.

LINDSAY: Yeah. Okay. Let’s talk about that. Why is flavor more important that accuracy?

HOLLY: Well, frankly, when you’re on a stage, you’re not right up on the costume. You’re not going to see that it has accurate 16th century boning in the corset. Who can afford accurate 16th century boning? Not a lot of people, especially not middle school teachers or high school teachers. So, you want to just see the lines of something, the look of it, and the flavor of it and you can replicate that in modern clothes. It doesn’t have to be that original piece because that’s hard for us.

LINDSAY: Yeah. Okay. Let’s keep going with the Elizabethan era. What are a couple of modern switch-ins that a teacher could use for something that isn’t from the Elizabethan period?

HOLLY: Sometimes, the easiest thing is just the button-down shirt – very simple. Everyone knows the button-down shirt. Now, if you take the collar off of that button-down shirt, it looks like any kind of wear in Elizabethan times. That’s a simple one. Leggings, very simple, even if you’re doing a show that is straight period, has nothing to do with teenagers except for the fact that they’re playing Elizabethan characters, leggings are great as a way to replace that – the briar is what they’re called or just pants – that’s the easier way of saying it.

LINDSAY: Okay. Let’s go back to vision. You have come up with a vision, you’ve come up with a catchphrase or something to identify your vision, you’ve started picking on pieces, how do you maintain consistency? How does a director make sure that what their costuming vision is ends up on the stage?

HOLLY: It comes down to choice of every piece. There’s a lot of pieces in your costume. If you look at each one and say that phrase as you’re choosing it, you will make sure that it’s always in the same page, but that means that you have to be involved in the every choice, and that can get interesting. You have to, if you can’t be involved in every choice, you just need to lay out that thesis for whoever is underneath you in your staff or costuming, even if it’s the kids that are helping you costume, you have to teach that phrase and explain it fully so that whoever is making the choices is on the same page with you.

LINDSAY: What do you think about students coming up with their own costumes for a show?

HOLLY: It can be wonderful and it could be terrible.

LINDSAY: Well, as long as it’s extremes.

HOLLY: Yes, it’s wonderful in that you have an opportunity to teach kids about costuming but, to do it well, you have to really teach them. It can’t be just, “You are responsible for your costume.” If you go the route of, “You are responsible for your costume,” you’re going to end up with all over the board, it’s going to be all kinds of things. There’ll be the ones that want it to be really accurate so they’re in, like, full-on historical regalia and the ones that just are wearing a prom dress. When you put the two together, it’s going to look like a mishmash. It’s going to look very wrong. To put it simply, it will look wrong. Also, you have the problem that this is a teenager and they are looking at themselves so they want to look cool, but what if their character isn’t cool? What if their character is supposed to be, you know, not pretty? That’s where you get the problem because most teenagers want to look pretty or cool and you have to really impart on them that their character is much more important than their ego, and that is hard. Sometimes, it’s easier just to hand them the costume.

LINDSAY: To be the director.

HOLLY: Yeah, you’re the director. You know, if you hand them the costume, they’ll do it because they trust you. And then, they’ll usually realize you’re right, even if it’s something that they weren’t completely happy about – playing the beggar so they have to wear baggy clothes or something like that. You can’t be the sexy beggar, you know, because that’s what all the teenagers want. But I think that just made me sound old.

LINDSAY: I just have this image of a sexy beggar.

HOLLY: Well, that’s what I was saying. I mean, if you look at all the Halloween costumes, it’s always something strange, you know, sexy strange. You can’t do that but that’s what they’re going to want so you have to either (a) teach them and really teach them well and give them parameters, give them guidelines, give them rules because they could do that, or (b) they have to suddenly become costumers themselves and I think that’s pretty hard on them.

LINDSAY: That’s the hard one. It’s funny because I think that a lot of teachers would think that it’s easier just to let their students come up with their own costume. But, in the end, is that the best thing for the production?

HOLLY: Exactly. It’s really smart on paper, you know, where you’re like, “Yeah!” You know, they go do it and, you know, that saves me you know, lots and lots of hours – weeks of work, months of work. But, in the end, it’s going to be so much more of a headache and, at that point, you can’t do anything about it when they show up on your last night of tech rehearsal and they’ve got their costume for dress rehearsal and it’s atrocious – not to be mean to the kid – sorry, it’s inappropriate for their character. There’s nothing you can do about it.

LINDSAY: Let’s talk about some tools for communicating vision. Do you use Pinterest?

HOLLY: Yes, I do! I am one of those folk. I use Pinterest quite a bit and that is very helpful. If you are going to use Pinterest, I would say you can invite people to help, but that can also be a problem because, if they’re pinning other things, you could lose your vision.

LINDSAY: Yeah.

HOLLY: You need to be aware on that. You can also, if you’re going to use Pinterest, it sometimes helps to break it down. Break it down like you might in any other way. In Pinterest, you have different boards. Should I explain what Pinterest is?

LINDSAY: I think everybody knows that it’s a visual pin board.

HOLLY: Exactly. Back in the day, that would be like, if you cut out all of your things and put it on a literal board.

LINDSAY: If you made a collage.

HOLLY: Yes, it’s a collage.

LINDSAY: It’s an online collage.

HOLLY: Yes, there we go. But you can have different boards for different things – even different courses. Like, if you want to say, “These are the townsfolk, here are our ideas and our looks for the townsfolk,” and then the next board is for the ladies in waiting, and our next board is for the actors on the stage or anything like that. That is really helpful. You don’t want to just have costume board and then just put everything on there like a big visual dump. You don’t want to do that. So, if you are using Pinterest, definitely make sure you’re doing it that way and make sure that you’re keeping your colors correct. When I say keeping your colors correct, I mean that you could be looking at one piece for its design but the colors are completely wrong. If you’re using this board for someone else, you know, weigh if that’s a good idea, weigh if you want to put it on there. Be selective is really what I’m saying.

LINDSAY: Can you do textures? Like, can you pin an example? Have you ever done color? Like, color blocking? You know how you get paint chips?

HOLLY: Definitely.

LINDSAY: Can you do that online?

HOLLY: I do, yes, you can. They’ll actually usually have color strips or something to that degree and a lot of times it’s used for things in interior design or weddings. You’ll see a lot of wedding ones. You can use those color strips in the same way in your costuming and it’s a nice way to see a good grouping of color that you know will look good together because you see them all together right there, and that’s a good way to pin that color. Or, you know, when you’re talking about texture, just make sure that you’re writing underneath, you know, say, “I really like this velvet, not the color,” or something like that. Basically, change the captions. For those of you that don’t Pinterest, change your captions and use them to give direction because that’s what you do as a director – you give direction whether it’s acting or costuming.

LINDSAY: What do you think a good number of pictures or images is per board so that someone else would get the idea but not get overwhelmed?

HOLLY: I’d say anywhere in that range of 20 to 30 so that you’re still getting that idea. It’s when you get into the, 100, 150 that it starts to get a little…

LINDSAY: It becomes overwhelming.

HOLLY: Watered down.

LINDSAY: Yeah.

HOLLY: It’s just too much. Or if they’re just similar pictures, you can do as many as you like, but you just don’t want to get too watered down and have too many of too many different things because that’s watering down your vision. You want to keep it that one statement.

LINDSAY: Yeah. How important is color to a vision?

HOLLY: Color is incredibly important. It is one of the most useful tools that you have for you. It’s also another way, when you’re using a very large cast, when you have a very large cast, you use color to help see those groupings better. Like when I was talking about townsfolk or anything like that, if you use color in that way like saying that perhaps all the townsfolk are in a certain color tone, they’re all in the browns or something like that, you can know that another grouping next to them like maybe the women of the town or something like that could be in a complimentary color of some kind so that you know that they’re going to look good next to each other, if that makes sense.

LINDSAY: Yeah. Well, it takes away that look of noise if you’re focusing on the color, not only the costume pieces, but the color of those pieces.

HOLLY: It’s your composition on the stage.

LINDSAY: Yeah, it’s visuals.

HOLLY: Yes, yes!

LINDSAY: It’s visuals. All right. Oh, we’re so smart today.

As we wrap up, you’ve got a listening audience of middle school and high school teachers, many of them who probably are saying, “I could never come up with costumes for a show,” what’s your three pieces of advice for the novice teacher costumer?

HOLLY: Don’t be afraid is the first bit of advice.

LINDSAY: Do not fear the costume.

HOLLY: Yeah, do not be afraid. It is a lot of work but, if you just treat it the same way that you do your directing, you’ll find that it comes easy to you. It’s not something foreign so don’t be afraid.

The second bit of advice would be to take it player by player. You know, you have your big statement, your big vision, but then, if you just do it bit by bit, it won’t be so scary. So, I guess that’s like a part two of the first bit of advice. If you take it bit by bit, it will not be so scary.

LINDSAY: What do you mean bit by bit?

HOLLY: What do I mean by bit by bit?

LINDSAY: Yeah.

HOLLY: Player by player, actor by actor, just look at what you’re doing right there and say, “This kid needs to have clothes but I also want to make sure it looks good.” I think that will help you.

And I guess my third piece of advice which is an interesting connection to the second one is think of the whole show. Yes, we’re just trying to get the kids clothed at a certain point and we’re not afraid of it, we’re just trying to get them clothed, but we also want to think of it as a whole show and we want to compose those colors. So, keep that statement in mind, keep that theme in mind, and dress the whole show, not just the actor.

LINDSAY: Awesome. My favorite ratio, I use this ratio a lot when I’m talking to students about character development in that the audience, when they are taking in a production, it’s 60 percent of their understanding is based on what they see, 30 percent is what they hear, and 10 percent is the actual text. So, if we’re going on 60 percent of connecting to your audience is what they see, you have to take costuming into account.

HOLLY: Exactly, if only to not compete because you don’t want to distract from the acting.

LINDSAY: Yeah.

HOLLY: You can be very simple if it is scary to you and you go simple with your theme, you know, with your subject, and then you can have your acting be more highlighted by something subtle, by something simple and not so scary.

LINDSAY: Well, there is nothing wrong with dressing everyone in one color.

HOLLY: Yeah, I love that. That is always high concept to me, like, when you go for the monochromatic and it’s really a focus on the acting. I call it black box costuming.

LINDSAY: Sure.

HOLLY: It’s the same as, like, black box theatre.

LINDSAY: Sure. I think what you’re saying is to make it a choice.

HOLLY: Yes, that is exactly what I’m saying. It’s just like you’re making choices in acting.

LINDSAY: Awesome.

HOLLY: Only it’s in clothing.

LINDSAY: Awesome. Thank you so much for talking to me today, Holly.

HOLLY: Thank you! It was fun!

Thank you, Holly! So much interesting stuff. Ugh! I just love talking about something that I don’t have a lot of background in or knowledge of and feeling like, “Oh, I could do this. I could totally do this.” I think that’s really great.

Before we go, let’s do some THEATREFOLK NEWS.

So, we talked about Pinterest in this podcast and so it’s a good time to remind everyone that Theatrefolk has a Pinterest page. I know! Did you know? Of course not! Now you do! So, check us out. I’m going to put the link in the show notes which is theatrefolk.com/episode125.

There are theatre teacher resources, printables, production photos, theatre quotes, theatre history, stage doors, and so much more. I love a cool stage door, especially from some of those theatres in New York which are just hundreds of years old or a hundred years old.

And don’t forget to check out Holly’s play, the Pauper Princess, an adaptation of Mark Twain’s The Prince and The Pauper – a wonderful character-driven romp with the princess being Princess Elizabeth I. You can read sample pages over at theatrefolk.com and, again, you can check the show notes. I’ll put the link in there – theatrefolk.com/episode125.

And, lastly, if you’re interested in getting more professional development, if you want to learn more, if you’re afraid of costuming and you want to feel like you can really take your shows to the next level, check out the Drama Teacher Academy website – dramateacheracademy.com. I’ll put the link in the show notes, too. See sample lessons, see what resources are available, look around, kick the tires, be the best teacher that you can be with these professional development opportunities.

Finally, where, oh, where can you find this podcast? We post new episodes every second Tuesday at theatrefolk.com and on our Facebook page and Twitter. You can find us on YouTube.com/Theatrefolk and you can find us on the Stitcher app. You can subscribe to TFP on iTunes. All you have to do is search for the word “Theatrefolk.”

And that’s where we’re going to end. Take care, my friends. Take care.

 

 

Music credit: ”Ave” by Alex (feat. Morusque) is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

 

About the author

Lindsay Price