Tag Archives: costumes

She Catches Air

9 Jun

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First Dress: in the can.

…Some small adjustments made, due to the longer skirting, different shoes, hats, gloves, new props and additional layers and corset, but all the big stuff made it in the mix.

My largest: a particular vamping moment we weren’t sure would make the cut once my constrictions were all added in, was saved after all, but took some negotiations, and a lot of body launching in about 20 feet of satin, to achieve. 

And at first: it totally didn’t work. 

…But took time before the run to slowly mark it…and the material and costume give, and placement…then, with both Mdm Director and Costumer watching to make sure I didn’t fuck it all up: graduated at last to the eventual speeding leap onto a specific piece of furniture, getting enough air to launch myself into a landed seductive position, of comedic proportions, grown specifically from the knowledge that I would be dealing with too many skirts at that point to achieve it in any other way.

…The first time, in costume, was the most unsexy thing you have every seen. 

…And slightly terrifying.

…Followed quickly by the second and third most unalluring moments, possibly in history. 

The end-game was finally achieved, however, (in the run), by purely launching my body with no fear at it’s goal and letting gravity do the rest.  People laughed, so I suppose whether sexy or not, it is at the very least “funny,” which is the ultimate goal anyway, so: yay.

Off tomorrow night, trying to work from home at least tomorrow morning to buy me some sleep-in time, which I have yet to get this week.

…Would like to catch up on some of that before tech continues.

~D

Plowed

14 May

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Rehearsal kicked my ass tonight…or rather, I kicked my own ass AT rehearsal tonight.  Every moment not consumed in my first fitting or on stage was spent pacing at furious speeds outside, while running my lines, hoping it would somehow help them stick with the sheer force of energy.

…This went on for 3 hours.

…And for all of that, I kept screwing them up when I really actually needed them, anyway.

I don’t know what the fucking mental block on this is, but I’ve easily dedicated twice the amount of time to these lines than my last two shows put together, and the cocking things just won’t fucking stick.

…All my usual bag of tricks have been applied. The retention is massively slow, and occasionally word-spotty.  I might get three of the four direct adjectives in a row, but always forget that one middle one…the one that begins with an “R”…and ALWAYS screws up the flow of my recitation by going AWOL whenever possibly able.

I really just can’t do any more tonight. 

…Off book for Act 1 and half of Act 2, which would be great at one-week in…if that didn’t take me about 18 hours to accomplish, and still in a lot of cases, only “tentatively.”

…Things at work weren’t really the greatest, either, actually.

It all adds up.

I’m tired.

I’m gonna go to bed now and think of “not-lines” and forget about Corporate Reports on PURPOSE.

…Possibly contemplate how I’m going to clean my entire house in like 15 minutes tomorrow, after work, before some road tripping California Cousins arrive.

…And also: pay bills.

Gawd. I could really go for a glass of wine right about now…

And a thing of chocolate, with a side of grease.

And potatoes.

Instead, I’ll gargle mouthwash and go to bed.

Not a cool trade-off, friends.

~D

Read-Time

4 Apr

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Wiped from rehearsal tonight.

…Need bed.

…And some reading time.

Pop my brains into a better place, get some good sleep.

Folded and bought the first Call the Midwife novel of the trilogy. So I’ll take the Sisters of St. Raymund of Nonnatus House to bed with me, where though the work is hard and harried, at least it ends well 99% of the time.

…Which is still better stakes than we’ve got going for us in the Attic.

Off until Sunday now, come to find out. 

A literal costume rehearsal with nothing but changes-running for hours…followed by full tech.

…It’s gonna be a long haul, sweeties.

Light a candle for us.

~D

The Star

25 Mar

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Having done a touring show of a Holocaust piece before, I’d already been through the creepy-real feel of being surrounded by Nazi uniforms, in a barbed-wire concentration camp.  But I had played a Christian “protector” (therefore, a political enemy), not a person of Jewish descent.

…Those uniforms. Very, very pristine copies, rented from a company who let them out to film costume departments, so that the authenticity of the weight of the material, and all the patches and insignia were exact…was a hell of a thing to be on stage with.  I can’t even imagine having to be one of the actors having to put them on.

…Put it this way: there was very little “acting” involved while being screamed at in German, surrounded by these uniforms and barking dogs and people weeping to the right and left of me.  The awesome realization that this was 6 million people’s reality, 70 years ago, hits an entirely new level when your senses are slammed into it, knowing that this terror you actually, ACTUALLY feel is NOTHING compared to what they lived with every single day.

…And the HATE for those pieces of cloth.  That one patch I would stare at through that one scene, on the arm just resting on a desk…a pen in the hand, writing out my fate in ink for all of time.  The actual metal skull pin of the S.S.  The meaning behind it, and the audacity and total disgust of seeing a human wearing it with pride and purpose as an achievement in rank and standing. 

…And the Swastika.  Black spider on white, backed in blood red. 

…Close up.

…Close enough to see the stitches, hand-sewn to the arm bands and tacked to place.  Hand-sewn like they would have been hand-sewn.  Only then it was by a prideful wife, or mother, or sweetheart.  Now it was by a team of seamstresses in a costume department. 

And what must it have felt like to them, to do it? 

It is impossible to be even in the presence of the thing and not feel the distinct darkness of evil come off it.

…And what if one of those seamstresses was Jewish?

…Or one of the actors who had to wear it?

These are things you don’t really think about with intense detail, until you’re playing a scene with a person you’ve rehearsed with for a month, whom you trust and respect as a friend, and who you now can very easily look at with such loathing hatred…draped in this disgust…for all that what they are wearing means, and how well they do their jobs in being totally sick bastards toward you.

Props and costumes have POWER. Especially when they’ve history behind them.

…And this is the truth.

Tonight, for photos, I stood as the costumer affixed a beat up, well-used, yellow Star of David onto my sweater…just here…over my heart.

Not to assume that in any way I am sharing equal pains with the spirits who came before me, who have worn it, but tonight…I think it was the first time that the power of it hit me. The power of that star. The word “Jude” inked upon it.

Because I was wearing it now.

Above my left breast.

As she would have.

As millions of them did.

…A marking of a people. A religion. A death sentence. Something people looked at and knew as a branding, every day, on the streets, in the shops. Something that was so much a part of day-to-day life, that people became accustomed to it. As if it was nothing. As if it was no more than the patch of a favorite sports team, walking down the street. Which is outrageous to me. But what other possible explanation could there be? And then the mixed emotion of pride as well as shame of being of the blood and religion to be told to wear it. It is your faith…so how can one shun it and be true to oneself? Yet it is a mark of distrust and segregation and politics and abuse. How does one live with the balance of both loving and hating it?

…On every piece of clothing.

…Staring at you from every mirror.

…Every reflection of yourself in a window.

…Marked to indicate where you can and cannot go…

…Whom you may and may not marry…

…Be friends with…

…Do business with…

…Speak with…

…Every single day.

After getting the Director’s approval, I slipped off stage, and beat it to the front lobby, to get a breather for a bit. Because putting on that yellow piece of cloth had such an immediate tie with me.

A bond.

I could feel it.

A costume piece, is all it is meant for. But it isn’t. And it won’t ever be.

…Sometimes you undertake a thing that means more than you can quite grasp or put into words. It’s haunting. It’s vital. It’s physical. It is tangible. Even if it is only an ” emotional feeling.”

I took a breather in the ladies suite, and just stared at the mirror. For quite a while. I don’t know how long.

…And all I could really come up with, that sorted out into anything at all, was what a horrible honor it was to wear it. This star. And tell this story.

…For Anne and all the others.

…Surrounding an audience with a feeling they will never get from just reading about it in a book.

They may think they know these people already. Their names, their reputations…they even know how the story ends. But what they won’t be prepared for is that now, they will have heard their voices…know what their laugh sounds like. They’ll watch the jealousies build, and the fights erupt in full force, and witness total seized terror as boots march by, a bomber drops it’s payload overhead…a machine gun sounds…or children can be heard in the distance, playing in the street, while a little girl, wearing no shoes, speaking no words, sits in total silence. Listening. Because her life and everyone elses depends on it.

…The audience will live through all of this. In the same room as us. Live. Now. With no escaping it.

…And without even realizing it, that same audience will become our friends and allies, and will get angered and hurt for us, and pick sides, and find favorites,and will soon find themselves rooting for an ending alteration that can’t be fixed or changed, any more than the history that it came from.

…And when that realization actually hits…it will destroy their emotions, from seemingly out of nowhere.

Not because of “slight of hand,” or any kind of “manipulation.”

Because of Truth.

History.

Horror.

Theatre is an awesome thing.

A constant teacher. And a humanitarian.

…I just (for the 1,000th time) was reminded of it.

Thought I’d pass it on.

~D

A Special Breed Of Masochists

15 Oct

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You guys, I’m being super side-tracked right now by writing my blog. 

…On the way home from rehearsal tonight, I got this bitchin’ hair design idea for the show, and was just standing in the bathroom makin’ hair topiaries when I realized what time it was and that I hadn’t written my post yet today. So I’m stopped mid-point, and look like a frizzy cross ‘tween Hagrid, Pippi Longstocking, and a Fraggle.

…If I were a more farcical character it would be fucking perfect.  But I’m not, and it isn’t.

…I stopped anyway, so that I could do my duty by my pledge to you: the readers, and me: the scribbler.

Let it be noted.

…Tonight’s rehearsal was more “selective” in it’s scene work (which I like), and required me to be a maniacal energy boost of ridiculous hysterics both coming and going.  Short boosts of fuel, as I provide throughout most of the show.  And (continuing on my current streak) I have had yet another “lift” added, mid a grand performance of hoisting in hurrahs…making my new goal (as per Mdm. Director): “to somehow finagle out of ever having to walk at all, throughout the entirety of the show.”

If hard work, dedication, and my co-actor’s backs can do it: IT SHALL BE DONE!

…Poor bastards.

Our Sir Toby is endlessly bench pressing me, at this point.  But then, he gets to grope me lots too, so I figure: that’s free second-basing at the very least, which is (I feel) pretty fair trade in the scheme of things. 

My boob kinda hurts from this one scene.

…Just the one boob, which is totally my fault, cuz I’m the one grabbin’ Sir Andrew’s hand and slapping myself with it for an extended grip of time.  Won’t be so bad once I have corset boning to help stave off the brunt of the abuse.  Apparently, Maria likes it rough.

(Totally innocent shrug.)

…Meanwhile: Hooray for rehearsal skirts, so I can begin playing again with the flow and mass of all that material below me.  Less Nancy-ish* (“Oliver” referencing), with my wenching this time. I don’t have the luxury of just hoisting it up to flash me knickers whenever I need to get it out of m’damn way. 

Being a girl on stage is so much work, you guys…you don’t even know.

…Sure, dudes have coats and things that run hot in the lights, and if anything “period” is being attempted, layers begin to incorporate about two out from that in certain specific instances playing “outside” or “per season.”  But I promise you that women win in this battle, and always will. Even if they play “whores.” I know, because I’ve played tons of ’em.  You’d be surprised how many clothes can be worn when you are “technically” naked.  Especially in period pieces.  Just layers and layers and layers of shit on top of other shit, on top of more

There’s a reason that women did almost nothing gregarious or sportish for centuries of time.  It wasn’t so much the “society rules.”  They physically just couldn’t. You try wrapping your head around wale boning poking into your boobs and crotch and hips, while sucking you in so tight you can’t breathe, then putting twelve layers of underwear between that and your top skirts and waistcoats, and boots…and all that hair…and hats, every day from age eleven or twelve until (merciful) death.  Then go out, hoisted sidesaddle, “riding to hounds” on weekends.  Or play a stationary game of lawn tennis.  Or consider “a turn about the room” equivalent exercise to thirty minutes on the cross trainer at the gym.

…No wonder they fucking fainted all the time.

It’s GREAT discipline, and helps build the hell out of a character though, so the suffering and sweating is totally worth it.

…Bruised boobs, aching backs, suffocating organs, stinging knap-hands, pinched shoes, gallons of sweat, et al. 

It takes a special kind of person to do this all willingly, for almost no pay at all. 

…We’re sorta masochistic freaks, really.

And you totally wanna be us, when you grow up.

Admit it.

~D

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