IX- Costumes:

• Generally, the process of designing the costumes takes place two or three weeks before the play goes up.
• Costumes help to highlight character relationships, conflicts, personal traits, etc.
• They serve as means to enhance personality/ conflict traits:
Color- There is always symbolism involved in the use of colors.i.e. Red- passion, green-nature.
Cut- Choices such as having a female character wear a skirt instead of pants means a lot. Carefully plan and select these choices. i.e. A long skirt might make a person look more conservative or older.
Contrast - Characters define themselves against each other. Always think of how they look collectively on stage. For example, the members of the trio in Violines y trompetas were all wearing shades of the primary colors to make them look like a trio. Maria was not part of this group, so she wore totally different colors.
Costume Changes- How the costume changes throughout the play also reveals a lot about the character. Thus, if a character who always wears long skirts appears on stage with a very short skirt, this will say a lot about the character.
Watch that the style of the costume matches the general style of the production. Talk to the other designers about this.
• Costumes also provide interesting props, things to do for the characters. A coat or a bag might be an interesting thing to add if an actor is having problems with an entrance, etc.
Duties of the Costume Designer:
• Get together with the director and talk about the general concept of the play. Discuss character traits, specific scenes, style, etc.
• Attend at least one rehearsal and meet the actors. Talk to them about your ideas for their particular costumes and check if they have any clothes that we might borrow. Check out costumes master list to see what the group has in stock.
• In the event that renting costumes is necessary, the number of the Cornell Costume Shop is enclosed in the general contact sheet.
• Prepare a master list per character with all of the costumes and changes and where these are supposed to take place. (A sample form is enclosed).
• Assign dressing rooms (or a dressing area) for each of the characters and include a copy of the costumes checklist for each of them. Prepare a first aid kit in each of the dressing rooms.
This kit must include:
aspirin/ Tylenol
sewing kit
safety pins
hair spray
bobby pins
hair bands
mirror (if there isn’t one in the dressing rooms already)
• Iron the costumes (if necessary) before the actors go on stage.
• Explain to the actors that you are there to assist them, but by no means are you his/ her servant. Hanging the costumes and keeping the dressing rooms clean is their responsibility.
• Make sure that all the costumes are back in the dressing room after rehearsals/shows. Lock the dressing rooms (if applicable).
• Assist the actors in any quick changes, if needed, and pre-set these costumes.
• After the performance, return the costumes and send those that need it to dry cleaning (only if budget allows).