The Truth About Costuming Behind the Scenes with Costuming Heads

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Costuming for any show can be a challenge, but The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later is pushing the limits. Student costumers are facing big challenges, because they are doing so much difficult work with their own hands, with only advice from advisors to aid them.

Junior Amanda Karlsson and sophomore Jessica Ferber are the two heads of costuming for this year’s spring play.  The pair feel an added pressure to get everything just right, as this play is the sequel to the Laramie Project, which MFS students performed a decade ago.

Here is what Amanda and Jessica had to say about costuming The: Laramie Project Ten Years Later.

WordsWorth: What are the differences in costumes from previous plays?

Amanda Karlsson and Jess Ferber: Instead of very flamboyant and characterized costumes, like we used in Shrek, Legally Blonde, and Romeo and Juliet this play uses much more subtle costumes. We have to focus on slight differences between characters, who are mostly just average people, to allow the audience to subconsciously characterize and recognize each character and particular traits of each character. Rather than being blunt about the differences, we have to use smaller costume pieces like ties, jewelry, scarves, cardigans, jackets, etc., to distinguish characters. The costumes are much more simple and casual for this play.

WW: What role do actors have in costuming this year?

AK and JF:  It is dire for each actor to connect with each role/character they play so that they can understand and interpret how their character would dress in order to portray their characters. The costumes should be strong reflections of each person in the play, so actors play a huge role in achieving this as they know their character the best.

WW: What is your role this year? More or less than in other, previous plays?

AK and JF: This play we (Jess and Amanda) are the head designers of the costumes. For both Jess and I this is a huge commitment and “step up” as in previous plays we did more of organizing, quick changes, sewing, creating, and finding costume pieces rather than designing each costume along with the other work. Jess and I are both excited to get this opportunity. It is a huge job to take on but we were happy to do it and can not wait to see the final product. However, it has not been just Jess and I working on this. Kiyo, Mrs. Adler, and Allison have been working hard like every other play and Emily Herman, Carly Rosvold, and Kirsten Mckeown are in costuming as well.

WW: Were you influenced by the prior plays’ outfits?

AK and JF: Not really, as Shrek was much more of “fantasy” and “magical” costumes. Legally Blonde was more of sorority girls and a light-weight play and romeo and juliet was more old-fashioned medieval clothing.  These are much more casual, laid back, and “western” clothing.

WW: Is it harder this year to costume the actors, as opposed to other years?

AK and JF: No, every actor and actress has been cooperative and has worked hard to help us.

WW: Do you feel more pressure costuming this year?

AK and JF: Yes, as this is our first time being “head” costumers, but we are excited as well.

WW: What’s it like trying to find the perfect costume for each cast member?

AK and JF: It is a process, as many things do not fit or do not work. So it does take time and we usually go through multiple costume pieces to find the perfect one.

WW: Who is working on costuming this year?

AK and JF: The students are Jess Ferber, Amanda Karlsson, Kirstin Mckeown, Carly Rosvold, and Emily Herman. The adult advisors are Kiyo Moriuchi, Loretta Adler, and Allison Gibson.

WW: Is this year harder to costume compared to others?

AK and JF: Not really, the clothes are very casual this year.

WW: What is the process you go through when making the costumes for a character

AK and JF: First, we talk to each actor. Second, we design each costume. Third, we find appropriate costume pieces. Finally we try them on the actor and make any alterations or changes we need.

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