Putting it Together, by David I.L. Poole
(Read the first part of my design process here!)
So did my design of the ape costume meet approval? Yes, it did! Artistic Director Kelie Miley loved it!
The next phase of design is the actual implementation, which is where things can become a little tricky. Transferring the costume from a drawing to the finished product is a process called “draping.” Draping is a method of dressmaking in which fabric is pinned and hung on a mannequin form in order to create a pattern. This is usually done with inexpensive fabric, like muslin, so there is no real loss if a mistake occurs. This process is done with much trial and error, and there may be many drapings depending on the complexities of the garment. Once a pattern is determined from the draping, then more expensive materials can be cut and sewn into a finished costume.
One of the exciting materials being used is coming all the way from Hawaii! We ordered traditional Tahitian bark skirts in a variety of colors. These will be deconstructed and sewn onto the edges of the ape costumes to give a full fur look without it using actual fur, which is very expensive, heavy, and difficult to maintain. The Tahitian bark will be used on principal characters, while we are using raffia that has been painted and dyed to costume members of the ape ensemble. With 28 apes to costume, we aren’t just talking about small quantities here; we’re talking loads and loads of material!
After settling on the designs for the apes, the director also asked that I design tropical flower costumes that could bloom on stage, and a hybrid butterfly/puppet costume for some of the featured dancers. I love these opportunities to create fantastical creatures! That is why I love to volunteer at the Savannah Children’s Theatre where I have a place to let my imagination soar.
Thanks to our army of volunteers, including Karen Clark, Pam Edenfield, Chann Givens, Bonnie Juengert, and Marcia Karp, we are making quick progress. Main Stage productions are a team effort, and our volunteers are the best in town! We talk and laugh, sew and hot glue. Spending time with these creative, talented minds makes the work go by so quickly.
If you haven’t reserved your seats yet for TARZAN, do it now! Tickets are available on our website, or by calling the box office at 912.238.9015. The next post you’ll see from me will show the finished product. But trust me, you’ll want to see it on stage and in action!