Sunday, May 31, 2009

Busy Saturday

The theater director took Joan and me to the storage units, gave us the gate and lock codes, showed us around and left us to go through the contents. There was light, but no fans- we'll bring some next time- and it was hot enough that we locked up, drove to the gas station and got Joan a drink in the middle of the search. I, of course, had my trademark vat of Sonic tea.

I'm taking V's car to rehearsal today to haul the tubs of stuff we found and could not fit in the Focus, to the theater. Once we get whatever items LHS loans us, we'll sort everything into gender groups: one in the dressing room, one in the front room- and mix and match the chorus.
We had much better luck with the men than the women, for some reason.

The set designer, who also acts occasionally, brought in the black frock coat he made himself and word in "Tom Sawyer". We were duly impressed. It is an almost perfect fit for Sowerberry, which will save us renting for him. It's a very dull black and Dave is concerned his black slacks might be too shiny, but we will see. He's not even getting a vest- just a dickey- as he never takes the coat off. He needs a temporary inside breast pocket, for some business with a lily and Joan is saving me some scraps from Mrs S's dress, so I can jazz up his collar and lapels. That's one of those twiddly ideas that will or will not get done depending on time.

Today's object: finalize Orphan measurements and talk to my sewing volunteer mom about those costumes. I need to do a detailed sketch after Mass.

Tonight, I'm watching the babies while Sis and Jake attend Fan Target's boyfriend's show. He and his brothee are doing a two-month tour of the U.S. and the Texas week ends up here in Dallas. I'll be sorry not to get to see him, or meet his brother, but there's just no time.

Various things I said today:
"You know what we need? Slut lace."
"Calla lilies- you know, cartoon dead guy lilies."

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Do you even need to ask?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Just thought I'd try the scanner These are two of Fagin's fabrics: the top is his vest, the bottom one is his coat. The coat will have an upholstery brocade collar and pocket welts and the vest will have a golden brown buttonhole strip and brass buttons. He had a fitting tonight and was very pleased with how it looks so far. I found him some charcoal grey trousers at the Goodwill and a dark grey shirt at Metrocrest Thrift. They were having a 50% off sale, so I bought shirts with wild abandon. Somebody can wear them.
Our water heater was not working, so we called the plumber, who while trying to fix the heater, broke the electricity. The electric repairman came out, and several hundred dollars later, restored our power. He also put a new outlet on the porch and installed my lovely Arts and Crafts light, that's been in the top of the hall closet for two years. Since I couldn't sew, I just cut out instead and have Sikes's vest and hat ready to construct.
Took some photos of the boys in Fagin's Gang. They are cute beyond belief, and range from tiny to tall, which is how I posed them. The ass't director wrote down their names in order for me, so I can label the pictures and decide how to costume them. Not as big a project as it sounds, since two of them are Oliver and the Dodger, who are already dressed, so there are only eight of them to deal with. We or the parents will provide thrift store pants and shirts for them and then Joan and I will accessorize them.
All the orphans are going to be boys, even the girls. IOW, they will all be dressed alike in pants and shirts. Nice and simple- maybe a little boring, but they fall under the "60 seconds, Mom" rule.
Some of the gang may wind up wearing women's altered slacks, because of the smaller sizes and interesting plaids and dark colors. That falls under "Suffer for your art".
Tomorrow we ransack the costume storage.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Took a break
from costumes for the evening and went out to dinner with some old booster club friends, including Michael's widow. We're making it a weekly get-together support group for her.
And this morning, I am baby-sitting for Sissy, so she can de-clutter and stage the house because their landlord want to start showing it to prospective renters.

But after that it is steady "don't interrupt me" work, since almost all the prep has been done. I feel very slightly guilty about doing the musical when she has so much going on in her life, but I am available all the other 47 weeks of the year, I can't help when they schedule the show, they didn't really have anyone else to do it and I love it so very much.

It looks like we can borrow some things from the LHS (Local High School)- I'll know exactly what by next week.

Starting with Fagin- he rehearses Friday, with his gang. I need to get the vest and coat ready to try on for pocket placement. If I put two in the coat, two in the vest and he has four in his trousers (Goodwilled), that should be plenty for picking pockets. His hat is ready to try on- I went a little overboard with the brim, I think. Otherwise, it is genius.
But as Ro and V. pointed out, I'm only 5'3", so the proportions will be different on a six foot tall man. This is one of the drawbacks of trying costumes on oneself. The top hat looked decidedly Suessical on me, but will be fine on a chorus guy.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I'm only saying this once:

19th Century London is not the Ren Faire.
No one will be wearing one of those corset vest thingies over their peasant blousoe.
That is all.

Otherwise: had a good conference with the co-costumer. We are more or less splitting up the principals, with Joan taking the women and myself taking the men. We plan to give the workhouse orphans to one volunteer mom, and chorus outfits to the other.

Met our Oliver last night, a very appealing kid. His family apparently does a lot of theater- his sister, who was with him, just played Belle in B&B at Eastland College.

Fabric choices for Fagin, Sikes and the Dodger are set. I switched out Fagin's vest fabric, for something more gold/brown. My original choice was too much green. May change his shirt from grey to yellow/beige. Or not.
He is wearing trousers, Sikes opted for knee britches. Good choices.

Golden D'Or had coat fabric for Sikes, after I struck out at J-A's. A heavy, almost cordouroy, black stripe. There was one I really thought about, a black flocked denim, but it was too much for our little stage. Oh, damn- I forgot to retrieve his new hat fabric and walked out without buying it. Will just go with the first choice, then.

Also found Oliver's Brownlow outfit- a cream, tan and lt blue houndstooth check for the pants and a slightly darker blue suedecloth for the jacket. Remember, he needs a cap.
Also picked up orphan fabric, including five yards of water-damaged heavy linen-look for $1.oo yd.

Discovered that YouTube has lots of video of community theater and esp. high school productions of Oliver. I've seen some performances that only a mother could love. And people, seriously- lose the corsets!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Just so you know

it's going to be pretty much all theater and costumes notes to myself all the time around here from now 'til the first of July. Because I am head costumer for Oliver!, after all.
I will not get to work with the Shadowlands gal, but I do get to work with Joan, who did some fabulous stuff for Cabaret.
She thinks big, where I tend to get bogged down in twiddly details- though I am MUCH better about that now- but I'm better at actual imagining of the historical period, so we should complement each other.
In addition to outfitting a 41-member, multiple roles cast, we may have to supply the 100+ kerchiefs to festoon Fagin's den. I thought of plastic tablecloths, but we'd have to see how they look under the lights. Shine might be a factor- "They're silk." "No, they're obviously plastic."

Some of my old favorites are playing major roles- Fagin, Mr. Bumble, Mr. Sowerby, Mrs. Corney. And some are in the chorus. One of the kids from Jungle Book is Noah- he'd grown so tall and handsome that I didn't recognize him.
Plus, there are some great new people- Pete says he cast a Nancy that beat everyone else out, hands down. And the character actress I was hoping for is Mrs. Sowerby. The fellow who played the triple role in Sylvia is Bill Sykes, and I can't wait to see what he does with that.

Found a Simplicity pattern for a men's Goth 'London After Dark' ensemble, that I think will work wonderfully well for tail coats and vests. It even has a top hat pattern! And a 'Deadwood' vest and coat pattern, as well. The Dickens Christmas pattern has trousers, but I'm not going there except possibly for Sikes and the Dodger. For now, only Fagin, Sikes and the Dodger are being sewn and all the other men are rented.
NB. Check with Sikes: knee pants or trousers?

I was idling with the idea of Mrs. Sowerby in a plum or purple, but the more I think of it, the more I want them both in black, like crows. I think I'll have Mrs. Corney in plum instead. That's a good color on the actress, and not too dressy for the workhouse matron. With a big-ass cap.
Yeah, I like that...

Friday, May 22, 2009

My Costume Maxims
just to get in gear...
Yes, just like Aesop's morals, some of these are contradictory. It depends on the context.

1) That's close enough for government work.

2) "Sixty seconds, Mom. That's how long he's on-stage."

3) If you didn't want to wear fur, why did you audition for an animal?

4) It's a costume, not a prom dress.

5) "I was not aware the History Channel was coming to this show."
6) More is more- think Big.
7) A comfortable actor is a happy actor.

8) Sometimes you have to suffer for your art.
9) It can be fast, cheap or good. Choose two.

N.B.: Falsies must be basted in, rather than pinned. Had to use the hemostat to remove the safety pins from the 'Sylvia' bra, they'd rusted from the perspiration.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

We interrupt

this tranquil summer to co-costume Oliver!.
I hope it's co-, and not solo, because the other costumer was leery of taking it on, since it's
a) big
b) a period piece and
c) she doesn't really sew.
But since I am a sewing fool, with a sewing room and a big box of costume patterns, that solves that.
I only saw one of the two shows she did for TC this season- Shadowlands- but I loved what she did with it.
So, I hope we're compatible and can work on this together. Some of my favorite actors are auditioning and the set is by the usual designer and the woman who did Charlotte's Web.

Young people- here's what the director wants to know when you audition for a musical:
a) what your voice sounds like, and
b) can you carry a tune?
He is not interested in your 'stylings'. Really.

Obviously, we rent all the men's tailoring. And if we're really lucky, we can perhaps borrow whatever the Local High School kept from Les Mis. Slums are slums, right?
I'm rambling- I'm excited to be doing this. Can you tell?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

or maybe not.
I'm still a neophyte in the raw fiber world, so the condition of the one I bought off eBay may be how it should be. So I'm certainly not giving her bad feedback. Plus, I love a challenge.

Taking a cue from Mythbusters, who always do things in miniature first, I took a handful, stuffed it in an organza gift bag and washed it in the sink, per instructions off the Net. With a smidgen of Dawn, that gets grease, or lanolin, out of your way.

(Oh, Internet, how I love you! You tell me how to make a fat suit out of two T-shirts and fiberfill, or how to make Kung Pao Chicken, or find me that quote of Newman's on Anglicanism. Or how to process the fleece I bought on eBay.)

Once it was dry, I carded it, sort of, with the dog slicker brushes, spun it, plied it and solar-dyed it with a blend of Orange and Lemonade Kool-Aid. Now it smells quite tasty and not like a barnyard.

Since that worked out adequately, I ordered some actual carders and washed up a much larger batch in the bathtub, which I dried out in the garden on a bath towel. My using the kitchen colander to scoop the loose wet wool out of the tub will be our little secret, okay? I washed it really, really well afterwards.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Michael, RIP

Of your charity, please pray for the repose of the soul of Michael and for comfort for his family. He was the father of Ro's oldest friend and died Friday after a hard-fought battle with cancer. He was a loving husband and father, a VietNam vet and just a good man, who will be greatly missed in our community.
Our daughters have been friends since kindergarten and we share many fond memories of their growing up together.
Ro, who is the go-to girl for slideshows around here, prepared the one they will show at the memorial service.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


What I've been doing instead of writing here:

Building stuff for the garden

and spinning. This is only about half of the output now. It's not exactly out of control, but has the potential to become so.
Just spent what might be my dumbest $8 ever on eBay, buying a fleece. It was advertised as 'washed', but when we opened the box, we learned that 'washed' doesn't mean 'odorless'. It's a lovely creamy white color, but smells distincly 'sheepish'. Nor is it carded, so I'm off to the Petco for some dog slicker brushes to deal with it.
Ro came in to hang about the bedroom door.
"I'm worried, Mom. B's mother thinks Barack Obama might be the anti-Christ. She's been seeing all these numerological signs that he is- something to do with 444. She's seeing it everywhere."
"Darling, you do know that numerology is complete bullshit, right?"
"Yes, but you know her. She seems so certain that if you listen to her long enough..."
"Okay- I think he's a biblical chastisement, but he's not suave enough to be the anti-Christ. Alright?"
"But he swayed a lot of people."
"Many of whom just thought it would be cool to elect the first black President and are now going 'Holy Moley- what just happened here?' So- stop worrying, at least about the anti-Christ part."
"And please don't pay any serious attention to B's mom."
Reading a wonderful web of interconnected works- from Schumacher's "Guide for the Perplexed" to Vincent McNab's "Flee to the Fields" to Schall's "The Order of Things". Sane people for crazy times.
I also picked up a copy of Magnificat magazine for May. The offices are not as long or full as the ones in Shorter Christian Prayer, but they involve less flipping around and manipulation of markers, which I can understand being appealing. It also includes all the Mass readings, meditations and bios of various saints. I can see why it is so very popular.
The Yarbroughs have been attending Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University and love it. They have learned so much that has helped them understand how they deal with money and how they can change that for the better. They have Fan Target in their sights, now.
She just finished a wonderful knitted baby blanket for the new daughter of some of Davy's friends. He is on tour with a show now, but it's coming to Dallas for one night, so she and the Yarbs will get to see him then. We'll be babysitting, so they can attend.
"History is the river, real life is what happens on the banks."
Make the Cuteness Stop!
All the grandchildren, exhibiting various degrees of adorableness and good parenting. Miss O here, and Bubs and M.J. here.
Please feel free to skip this trip to Grannietopia.