Tuesday, March 9, 2010

More Theatre. More Flailing. No Surprise!

I sat down to write this while listening to Mountain Goats (Sunset Tree, "Pale Green Things") but whoa, not the right music or brain place. Instead, a transition. Muse! The Resistance.

Yeah, that's better. For flailing about theatre, at least.

Theatre is awesome. I love seeing it, I love hearing about it, I love reading it, and most of all I love making it happen.

And I really, really love my job. As wardrobe crew, I have a few basic responsibilities:
1. Make sure the costumes/wigs stay clean and mended.
2. Make sure the actors look how they're supposed to on stage.

But my actual duties are rather more complex. They break down more like this:
1. Make sure the costumes/wigs stay clean and mended.
      A. Do laundry every night
      B. Brush/set/tend wigs however often is necessary
      C. Keep dressing rooms supplied with whatever is needed-- cotton balls, bobby pins, and tissues are hot items.
      D. Be prepared to fix anything and everything at all times
            i. An actor rips his pants and has 45 seconds before he has to be on stage? Safety pins to the rescue!
            ii. An actress pops the strand of beads on her dress? That's what the needle and thread are for. No need to take the dress off.

2. Make sure the actors look how they're supposed to on stage
      A. Do everything possible to make the actors feel comfortable, confident, and attractive in their costumes.
            i. Actors, as a general rule, have rather low self-esteem and are VERY critical of themselves. You would be too if it was your job to get stared at by hundreds of people 8 times a week and if your getting jobs was in no small part dependent on how you look.
      B. Do pretty much whatever is necessary to keep the actors in the right brain-place
            i. This covers everything from providing tissues to having a steady supply of hair pins, to being a shoulder to cry on as necessary.
            ii. This task necessitates an ability to--for lack of better phrasing--read people accurately and quickly.
            iii. Consider thinking beyond costumes for this task-- have a cup of water and a throat lozenge ready for the actor with a scratchy throat, a tissue for the actor who tears up on stage, and a sweat towel for the actor always wiping his forehead.
      C. Perform all actions without playing the role of servant.

In short, as wardrobe crew, it's my job to keep the actors pretty while figuring out what everyone needs 5 minutes before they need it and then provide it, without looking like I'm fetching whatever people need.

And it's the coolest job EVER.

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