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Rehearsals for An Appeal to the Woman of the House have begun! The rehearsal period is short, my time is limited, so I want to get a jump on fittings, which will be next week some time.
The thing about Independent Theater in New York City is that you have to be creative with how you do everything. I always giggle at people who have this idea on how things are supposed to be done. That's all well and good when you have a budget larger than $5. (I exaggerate, but really, I don't have a lot of money.) It's all well and good when your actors are actually getting paid and don't need day jobs. Or you don't need a day job. But in the Off-off world, there is no such thing as "supposed to."
So, many times, costume designers have to do what I call "gorilla fittings."
I've gotten used to this over the years. What you do is you plan exactly what you want to fit way ahead. Measure the living heck out of it. Then package all items for each character together in it's own bag. Make your fitting note labels ahead of time for each piece. I used stickie notes and stuck them to the bible page for each character. Make sure you have a complete kit of tools, and make sure that you could pack up and move in a moments notice. You may only get about 15 minutes per actor. I usually ask for 30. The days of 1 hour fitting have been left behind with Grad School and won't be seen again until you have a bigger budget and a USA contract. Roll with it, because everyone else is and it's more fun with a sense of humor.
No I'm not going on at trip. This is what being a costume designer in NYC looks like.
If you're lucky, your producer may be able to reserve a room just for you to do fittings! But don't count on this. I can't tell you how often I've had to do fittings in the hallway, adjacent to the bathroom. Don't get mad; it costs money to rent an extra room. The cost of producing is rising. Know that no one will blink an eye because this is completely normal.
In my never ending obsession with kits, I want to make a Fitting Kit! I think I want to do something where it could be either hung on a rolling rack OR worn as an apron!
So first, what goes into a fitting kit? Here's my list:
I went to my local dollar store to see if they had one of those small hanging jewelry organizers or an apron or something. Fail. I did, however, find $16 worth of other stuff, and OMG THEY HAVE UNICORN PINATAS!!!!
I did not get a unicorn piñata.
Time being short as it always is, I was unable to make my fitting kit and prepare everything I needed to by the time fittings began (which was yesterday). So, for now that is on the back burner.
It's all coming along! We're in week two out of three of rehearsals. Shopping is ahead!