Costumes bring life to stage
Ethan Sebetta – Contributor
Early next month, the university will be putting on its production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” In preparation for this, the costume team has been hard at work to bring the characters to life on stage.
“It is a pretty traditional design of the show with a little bit of a modern twist. We have an expanded cast, so we have a lot of these extra great characters from Peanuts,” said Heidi Hanson, costume designer for the upcoming production. This marks her fifth season with the university’s theatre department.
For the first time after a year of digital performances, this production will be put on before a live audience. Even before it hit the stage, the team behind the play noticed that loosened restrictions have made preparations for the show much more efficient. “It’s nice to be back with people again in person, and I think that students are really excited to not be jumping over as many hurdles,” said Hanson.
“Theatre—is not typically made to be videotaped and then livestreamed,” said President of Crescent Players and theater major Kat Duffner, a senior. “All of the technical elements, the lights, the sounds, the costumes. Audiences will get to see the details as they’re meant to see them.”
Knowing an audience will be seeing the cast’s costumes in-person, has presented the cast with a challenge they did not have the year prior.
“Last year, if a belt that we found that fit an actor wasn’t the correct shade of brown that we wanted, we weren’t too worried about it, because the cameras weren’t going to pick that up anyway. But now we’re definitely making sure that everything’s the right color, it’s the right shape, the silhouette,” Duffner said.
Despite this, production has been working hard to face these challenges head-on while overcoming the difficulties the pandemic has posed. “Everybody’s back, but I don’t think everybody is quite out and about,” explained Michael Skinner, head of the theatre department. “But we’re overcoming those challenges.”
“We’re super excited to be welcoming in some new people to be working on the wardrobe ready crew, which is the people who work with the actors backstage during the show, during tech,” Duffner said.
Even with the setbacks which have hindered student involvement this year, when asked how this year compares to the year prior, Skinner was quick to answer. “It’s a lot better than last year. Cause we did four shows last year too, but it was different parameters. Last year, campus was a ghost town — we ended up actually looking for people to audition for our shows last year cause we weren’t getting a turnout.”
On a similar subject, Hanson offered an immediate response when asked if students should involve themselves with the costuming component of the production. “Absolutely. It expands your understanding of the clothing that you wear and our culture.”
“All students can be involved in any of our shows,” Skinner said. “This show is ‘Charlie Brown.’ We’re almost filled up with that one, but the next show I haven’t filled any of the tech positions yet, so if anyone wants to come contact me and we’ll get you involved.”
When asked about the most exciting part of this upcoming production, Duffner offered an answer unique to this day in age. “Knowing that it will be seen by a live audience—cause it’s just so much better with an audience. After the shows, you get to see people coming out of the theater and you get to hear their reactions. It’s a lot more engaging.”