Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Designing the costumes for “George’s Marvellous Medicine”

For the production, I to create two costumes, George’s, his Grandmother’s and Mr Kranky’s.
For George’s outfit I went through several stages. At first, reading through the script I planned on making him a young, lively and slightly mischievous boy. Therefore, in my first design I decided on jeans shorts, with a red woollen top with a high collar, which can be pulled over the chin, with Converse style shoes. However, then it was decided that George should be a teenage version. Therefore, I thought that I could exaggerate the stereotypical teenage look, so I made a design with him wearing slim, dark jeans with a green t-shirt with a black strip, along with styled trainers. However, the director envisioned George slightly younger, so I made a third design, in which George has a red t-shirt, jeans shorts and a cap. The cap could be worn sideways to make him look more like a teenager, or straight, to make him more childish. Also, I wanted George to wear stylish red shoes. So, since all of the pieces of clothes are easy to find in a guy’s closet, I told the actor what I wanted and told him to bring the clothes in. In the end George is wearing a blue cap, I had brought a slightly more childish black cap, but then decided that it was the best option, jeans shorts a blue, red styles trainers and red stripped polo top. The effect is great; it makes him look like a preteen, which is what I was going for.
For Grandma, I had a lot of consideration to do when designing her outfit. Firstly, Grandma is going to grow on stage in the production. She is to go on a stool to do this. The technicalities were changed a couple of times, but this is what was decided on. This means that Grandma’s dress will need to be long, and will get pinned up for the scenes before she grows. The second consideration is that the outfit must be easy to get into and out of, since the actor is playing two roles, Grandma and Mr Kranky. Therefore, I decided that I’ll make two parted a shirt and a dress, and arrange it so that it looks like it goes together. Mr Kranky’s outfit will go underneath. As a personality, Grandma is to be shown a bit witch like, so I thought that I’d dress her in an old fashioned dress, of a simple colour. She will also need a wig since it is a boy playing her.
So in the first design she is wearing a dress with a black top and green hem. She’ll wear a flowery black shawl and have her hair in a messy grey bun. She’ll wear black shoes (the same as Mr Kranky’s for practical reasons) that will not show underneath the dress. In the second design I added in a collar and designed a Velcro zipper system should it be needed. I added the collar because I realised that Mr Kranky will be wearing a collar top, so it has to be concealed. I made a third design after I looked in the costume room and saw a knitted vest with a floral design that I thought would be great. However, then I decided on design two because I liked it better and a shawl is easier to get off than a vest.
 I thought for a while about how to make or get Grandma’s outfit. In the end I decided that I’d make the dress part and then buy a black blouse top. So I brought green fabric and a got a blouse style shirt, with some ruffle at the front a small even collar, which suites old ladies and the old fashioned look well. I made the dress by putting an elastic band through the waist and then I sewed the back together until about just below the knees, where I left it open from the back to make it easier to walk in the dress-otherwise it would have been too tight. The dress is long, and pinned up before Grandma grows. As for the wig, I found an old sort of messy black wig and home and was inspired by the idea of making it Grandma’s wig. I had wanted a slightly messy wig to make her look a little witch like. So, in the end, I had her wear a black blouse, tucked into the skirt, with a green a skirt, a green shawl, a black wig on a bun and black rubber boots. I also found a pair of old red glasses with the glass taken out, which I though would add to the outfit and the fact that she is an old lady.
Mr Kranky is a farmer and that it is the idea that I began to design his outfit with. I had to keep in mind that the outfit would underneath the Grandma one. In design one, I created a very colourful flannel shirt, baggy, patched jeans, rubber boats and a straw hat. In design two, I made the top orange, but really a single coloured top with strips was the idea. The jeans also were also not patched. This was the plan that I stuck with. The actor found baggy, faded jeans and a flannel top at home. I found a straw hat and rubber boats for him, so in the end the flannel top is blue with red strips, and the character has baggy faded jeans and a straw hat and black rubber boots to create the farmer style.
       Overall, it has been interesting designing, and creating these outfits. It is challenging because it is necessary to consider what sort of character the outfit is going on, the practicalities in terms of what the actor has to be able to do in the outfit and how fast it needs to be gotten off. It is also necessary to consider what resources are readily available and use them as far as possible for inspiration. However, I’m pleased with all of the final results, since they portray the character as he or she is, and the way that I had envisioned them to be portrayed

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