I've been conned (several times now) into making costumes for the children's theater program at Santa Fe Performing Arts. They always ask me to make something really weird and I love a challenge, which is why I always agree to do it, but at some point during the construction the madness sets in... Right now it's all volunteer work, which is what makes it especially hard to do considering the hours I put into it. Nevertheless, I feel like it's through challenges like these that I actually grow, and thus, am able to make more complicated constructions. Still, with the time and budget constrains, (and never really being able to do an actual fitting), it's extremely hard to test anything out before I have to just jump right in, which adds another level of difficulty. I like to try things out...
Anyway, the latest play was Alice in Wonderland. I agreed to make the caterpillar and the cheshire cat, which wasn't actually in the script but made a few cameos, ambling wordlessly across the stage. (I was also asked to make the griffin and the Tweedles. The madness only goes so far...)
Here's the caterpillar...
And here it is on stage...
I used paint to give it the color, which worked well, but apparently wore off on the underside of the tail...
I actually was thinking about this one too sculpturally -- it looks best from the side and back, which you seldom see in a play... I would do it differently if I were to do it again.
The caterpillar was about as straight forward as can be expected, but the cat was made considerably more complicated by having to be broken up into four costumes (gotta get as many kids on stage as often as possible). I really had no idea what to do with that. The director envisioned some ball-like constructions that the kids could wear, with floppy limbs and a tail hanging off. She pictured them crouching. The idea of constructing spherical shaped costumes to be worn while a crouching seemed like a nightmare to me, so I ended up using their height differences and limbs and kept them all standing.
The pieces are pretty weird, but it does give the impression of a cat when assembled...
Unfortunately this was the best shot I got of them on stage
I also made a few things for the previous production, Tom Sawyer. In another attempt to get more kids on stage, I was asked to make two bush costumes. Having come off the Meow Wolf play and with no budget, my head immediately went to the box of left over green plastic bags sitting in our laundry room. With Brandon's amazing help, we tore the bags into shreds, I stitched them into bundles and glued them onto what are essentially sacks with sleeves and face holes. I would have done the arms, too, but we ran out of bags.
I missed taking pictures during the actual show but got Caity to put on one of the costumes after we watched Alice. She was excited that she happened to be wearing green jeans.
In Tom Sawyer, the kids who wore these laid on stage as set pieces and when they finally got up and moved there was a bit of twittering from the crowd. They then gave Tom a hug.
Must remember if I do this again -- kids are really hard on costumes. It was astonishing how quickly things had deteriorated after just a few performances. Fortunately, that's pretty hard to notice from 20 ft away. I love the graciousness of costuming.