CREATING A MESS
How the hands get covered in paint, the mind walks historical paths and the dots are all connected.
Fundamental needs must be met for costumes to be successful: those of the director, the script, the actor, and those of personal aesthetic. It all begins with a dialogue between creatives about what the collective vision is and what each player can bring to the table. You work through the characters and the text to find the moments to pull out - the clues that create an authentic character. Understanding the limitations of the space, the timing, the actors and factoring them into the design. Giving it a greater purpose beyond the ‘look.’ Functionality drives the design.
The work begins with meeting the stranger, identifying the clues, and creating a melody between all of the pieces. Countless hours are spent researching the contents that surrounds the character, the play, and our moment in history. This comes with an understanding of each character’s thought process for why they own and choose to put these garments on their bodies. Finding odds-and-ends in the physical world enforce the true nature of the character. Each factor brings authenticity. This validates the audience member’s curiosity for what they are witnessing and rewards them for spending the time to try to get to know them better.
Creativity is a muscle to stretch, to strengthen, to nurture. A skill set that thrives with growth, its niche an ever-expanding toolkit which turns original visions into memories for the viewer. To the left* is wood glue. White paint. All cracked, pre-treated 3D components, with general black wash, brush work detailing, and an emphases on gold to accentuate the cracked and pealing nature of time in the play Adios Mama Carlota. The fabrics of time can not only be sewn, tailored, and patterned but reconstructed, painted, distressed, aged, and dyed. Disciplined training enhances all areas of the process. By marking details accurately and acquiring skills in other fields the unity of effect becomes all encompassing.
*or above if on the mobile platform
Costume Designers have the responsibility to do good by the actors who live in the creation for months, maintain the vision of the director, break the expectations of the audience, and stay true to their own intent. It is about working with the parts provided and discovering how the characters live comfortably within the larger world of the play. It’s about having high standards for the work and the understanding that theater is a living breathing entity that is constantly in flux. It’s the ability to go with the rhythm of the play, meet its demands at every turn. But also know when it is time to walk away and release the art to the actor. We as a creative team are successful when the audience has to walk away feeling, thinking, and knowing what was intended.