Friday, September 30, 2005

The Racks

To the right you will please note our very own Brent Stansell, assisting in the presentation of one of about five racks of Elizabethan costumes, assembled by our talented, delightful and yes I will dare say it cute as bug's ear costume designer, Ms. Jenn Miller. There are doublets, farthing gales, breeches and cod pieces filling the dressing area at Rorschach Theatre. She has amassed a huge collection of ruffs and cuffs all in the service of The Beard of Avon.

In a town like DC, you would be amazed at how many of these costumes I and other cast members have seen before. Patrick Bussink and I toured with National Players like seven years back in a production of Twelfth Night, with costumes by the famous Helen Hwang, and dyed by Rorschach Resident Company Member Debra Kim Sivigny. There on the racks are costumes that we traveled America with for 9 months on loan from Olney. Olney then proceeded to use the same costumes that next summer in their Summer Shakespeare production of As You Like It.

Many of the items which make their way into productions in DC are either kindly lent or cheaply rented from one company to another for various productions. It is one of the many things about the DC theater scene which allows so many companies to survive if not thrive. Something built for one show may be altered and repurposed for another show across town a few months later. This has created a sort of secret brotherhood of designers, with an arcane knowledge of where Round House keeps their fine china or where Shakespeare Theater keeps those extra platforms.

And why not repurpose props, sets and costumes, theaters repurpose actors all the time. Grady Weatherford and I are both repurposing the accents we used in Gross Indecency at Theater Alliance for this very show. Think about that for a while.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I must correct you Dcepticon, the costumes from your players tour were dyed by Ms. Helen Huang herself. It wasn't until several years later that she taught me her wise ways of the dye vat and paintbrush.