Monday, October 10, 2005

Farthingales and Woozles

Wendy Wilmer, a wonderful actress and long time friend is making her Rorschach Theatre premiere in The Beard of Avon. Wendy will be playing Queeny herself, Elizabeth Tudor. Amy Freed has gone to town using every imaginable nomenclature to describe Old Queen Bess. Elizabeth is addressed as everything from Her Royal Majesty to a couple of particularly toothy puns.

Wendy is also facing a challenge that few actors ever have to face. Here are some of Wendy's thoughts on her particular acting and costuming challenge.

“What, I say what, is a "farthingale?”

That was a question my son posed when I emailed him about the show and my role as Queen Elizabeth. My greatest challenge to date has been learning to manage (not that I have… yet!) the costume. A farthingale, for those of you who don’t know what they are, is a contraption that 16th century court ladies wore around their waists and under their skirts to make them extend obcenely to the sides, thus giving them hips that were as wide as they were tall! Their [outside] skirts covered them and hung to the ground. It gives one the appearance of a frigate in full sail! But then, a picture is worth a thousand words . . .

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