Monday, 26 November 2018


I caught a cue-to-cue day at rehearsal for The Hobbit at Globe Theatre. "Costume Parade, 4:30" said the schedule. A chance for director, designers, wardrobe people and stage management to see the costumes under the lights. There was much tugging at hairpieces, collars and hems. Many vests and cloaks held open for a fastener check. Show boots tested for ease of movement. All of this happens in a series of conversations in one corner of the stage. When the parade is over, the actors go back to the dressing room. They get the supper break before it's time to get ready for tonight's run of the full show.
I'd learned before that for actors whose aim is to get the show into their bodies, the arrival of the costume--often not until a few days before opening night--is another hill to climb. Imagine working out precisely what your body should do, then tacking on extra weight, re-distribution of balance, wider footprint, more noise, and increased danger of snag. No wonder actors like to get the final versions of their costumes and props as soon as possible in the rehearsal process. 
My introduction to this idea was observing the actor who played Mr. Banks in Mary Poppins in 2015. When everyone else wore all manner of work-out or dance footwear, this actor wore points, as we used to call these long, thin dress shoes that seemed half again as long as our foot. Turns out, these were Mr. Banks' shoes. Might as well start wearing them right now.
During the costume parade the other day, the director wondered if they could try a different wig for Bilbo. Someone from Wardrobe went to get the wig worn by a certain Romeo. As soon as Bilbo put it on, he was inviting the ladies back to the dressing room, etc. All in fun. At this stage in the rehearsal journey, everyone can use a laugh.

No comments: