Tuesday, 15 April 2014 00:00

Common Acting Areas of the Stage

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Stage Costumers and Dressers become familiar with the backstage areas and also the acting areas of the stage.The list of costume changes develops from the rehearsal process. Stage Management informs Wardrobe and these notes become the Doff and Don chart (the who, what and where of costume changes). For example, the location of the first costume change may occur SL (stage left) and the second costume change maybe located SR (stage right). This means the Costumer needs to travel backstage and; 

  • Set up for the first costume change Stage Left  and layout the costume
  • Accomplish the costume change
  • Scoop up the doffed or discarded costume pieces in a laundry basket and continue on to the dressing room or to Stage Right for another change.
  • Accomplish the costume change
  • Return doffed costumes to the dressing room and hang properly
  • Return to your assigned area                                                                
  • Check out the video of Celine Dion quick outfit changes backstage. The video helps explain how Costumers and Dressers accomplish complicated wardrobe changes in a short period of time.Notice that when Ms Dion exits the stage, she runs right into the little draped room where three Dressers are already waiting. The Sound or Audio technician holds the mic pack up and out of the way so the costume can be changed without getting tangled in the wires.  

    As you view through the video, notice the work;

    • Dressers standing ready, waiting in position
    • each one knows their specific task and once it is done they stand back to allow the rest of the change to happen
    • costumes are puddled on the floor so Ms. Dion can step right into it, allowing the Dressers to pull it up and begin working on the closures
    • costume pieces are handed to Ms. Dion for her to put on
    • shoes laid out so as she can step into them and the Dressers can do up the buckle

    • jewelry is added while the shoes are being done up                                   
    • the performer may request water
    • Costumers and Dressers need to share the space and time with Hair and Make up Artists during the change

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    The Costumer's Notebook,

    The book The Costumer's Notebook is a 295 page comprehensive handbook for Costumers for stage and film including a full Glossary of stage and film industry terms. Sections include methods and tricks for laundry, dyeing, breakdown, Dresser guidelines and protocols for Stage or Film and various size charts for men and women from shoes to gloves. Other Sections include diagrams showing How to Iron A Shirt, How to Tie a Tie and How to Tie a Bow Tie. Costume fittings, costume lay out and costume storage are also discussed.