Okay, so, I'm not dead. I've just been extraordinarily busy lately.

I've just finished costuming for the Post-Meridian Radio Players spring production. I know that 'costuming for radio' sounds like the kind of job they give you when they like you but are afraid you'll hurt yourself running out to get a bucket of prop wash and a box of grid squares, but I promise you, it's for real. I'm particularly proud of the costumes for The Mysterious Traveler, starring Austen Wright as The Woman, Michael Lin as The Gentleman, and Joev Dubach as The Thief, with Dave Baker and Naomi Hinchen on Foley. The Woman's costume was one of the few custom pieces in the show, for reasons that will be obvious if you are local enough to come see it in action. The hat has a matching decoration on the side facing away from camera, because anyone in a piece involving a theft by the gentilhomme cambrioleur Arsène Lupin must, by definition, look well put-together.

Not visible are The Gentleman's cuffs, upon which are some glittery faux-cufflinks, as he is referred to several times in the script as 'the toff', and he needed to look the part; and not caught properly by the camera are The Woman's full bustle, which matches the skirt, and the fact that her collar brooch has a center of pearls and cut-glass beads. Austen is also an incredibly good sport when I bring up things like corsetry, and teaching her fellow actors how to lace her into it when I'm not around.

Also my doing -- although mostly by arranging to borrow things from cast members, other volunteers, and the MIT Gilbert & Sullivan Players -- were the costumes for The Scarlet Pimpernel. With a cast of thousands (well, a dozen, close enough for our purposes) including Justus Perry as Sir Percy Blakeney and Kristen Heider as Marguerite, Eric Cheung as Andrew Ffoulkes, Jackie Freyman as Suzanne, Martha Putnam-Sites as Chauvelin, Jeremy Holstein as Desgas, and Tom Champion, Lucas Commons-Miller, Jessica Conger, Lori-Anne Cohen, and Catherine Bromberg as everyone else in the damn novel, Not very visible in this photo are all the ribbon widgets I made for them: revolutionary cockades as required, and pimpernels for Sir Percy and the Foley team. Marguerite is also wearing a daisy clipped into her hair, because this group approves of terrible puns.

I dug up a pair of silk handkerchiefs for Sir Percy and the Prince of Wales to flap foppishly at one another in the scene where Percy regales the crowd with some doggerel about the Pimpernel. Lucas dubbed it their "battle of (t)wits". It is like watching Hugh Laurie as the Prince Regent play dueling drolleries with Hedonismbot. I am proud of having helped contribute that little bit of absurdity to the world.

They asked me to handle wardrobe in the first place because last summer, when I played the murder victim in their Sherlock Holmes piece, I did not go out to Goodwill and come back with a vaguely adequate dress. I turned up in a ruffled blouse, waist cincher, crinoline, long skirt with polonaise, velvet jacket, and prairie boots. All of which I either already owned or ran up out of discount fabric in a couple of days. The polonaise even had pockets in it, so I wouldn't go completely insane or misplace my phone and lip balm and spare bobby pins and whatnot.

When I am tasked with costuming, I do not fuck around.

I seem to be developing a reputation for this sort of thing. I dug up two completely different flapper costumes for Speakeasy Circus -- and a cocktail dress for the time I turned up as a regular patron -- without much trouble. I had to by a $10 cloche for one of them, but other than that I owned all the pieces already. I jammed the cloche, and the Clara Bow skirt and drop-waist sweater, onto Jazmin for the time I roped her into volunteering with me, too. I think I have managed, for a year and a half now, to turn up to assorted shows and events without ever repeating a dress.

My clothing rack is a sight, especially since Suki paid me for a photoshoot in what turned out to be, when unpacked, an entire sofa full of formal gowns. (They compress well. There is a lot of tulle involved.) My only concern is that I don't want to be too known for dressing people, or no one will ever bother to cast me in anything again.

Comments

  1. The other thing about becoming a consultant is that it helps to have people who can testify you've done [thing] for them, even if you didn't charge that particular time. So things like wardrobe-mistressing could potentially lead to paying gigs too.

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    1. Oh, I'm aware. One of the people I work with at the PMRP already asked me to do a paid stage manager gig. It was too much of a time commitment for me at that exact moment, but they're aware that I'm competent, and I can be hired.

      I also make it a point to tell people at auditions that I can also work wardrobe and potentially crew. I'd most like to be on stage, but I do sometimes get called back for costuming when I'm not cast.

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