Friday, May 29, 2009

Costume Drama

This could be dangerous. I'm just sitting here typing without purpose. Free associating almost. But, hey, not all posts can be masterpieces, can they?

I have a wickedly busy day ahead today. It's the time of year. I almost hate it. I can't hate it completely because there's only three weeks of school left and I hate the kids being in school more than I hate this time of year so my time-of-year hatred is only an almost hatred. But it's still going to take a lot out of me so I am trying to budget my time very, very carefully (which is why I am going upstairs to take a very carefully thought-out and calculated nap in about 5 minutes).

Redheaded Snippet is in her school's play again. This year it's Aladdin Jr and she's the off-her-nut genie. So, today, Mom and I are running all over South Jersey to come up with all the fancy tidbits we'll need to piece together her costume. We had some harrowing moments in Walmart last night on our first scouting mission for the project. You can imagine: three opinionated women (Redheaded Snippet was with us) each with their own vision for the costume trying to come to somewhat of an agreement on what this thing will look like after a minimal amount of time and money. At one point, I actually grasped Redheaded Snippet (whose eyes were moist from frustration) by the shoulders, looked deep into her eyes and said, "How many of these costumes have your Grandmother and I done for you? Have we EVER let you down?" She was still unable to trust us completely. She's an independent one. Don't know where she gets that from.

Well, we managed to come to somewhat of a plan. We are no longer planning on making her blue. Not her clothes blue, her skin blue. She had her heart set on being blue. But, sadly for her, that idea was eliminated after much discussion. I don't know where on earth I would find the right quality makeup and in the amounts we would need. I'm sure I'd have to go to Philly. I don't think we'd have the time we'd need to get her all blued up, especially for the during-school-hours matinee when she has to do her own makeup. And, I'm pretty sure she would look kind of sickly when painted blue. You know how our eyes and mouths tend to look when surrounded by an inhuman color like that: corpse-like or rabid.

Instead, we're leaving her skin lily-white and making her costume a brilliant shimmering blue. With silver accents. Snippet insists on silver accents, NOT gold. I don't know, whatever, we can work with that. For added interest, we're going to make use of this long braid of hair my mother once bought at a yard sale years ago in a flash of inspiration. We all thought she was nuts at the time, but she said she felt by the pricking of her thumbs that it would come in very handy. And she was right. So far, we've used it in at least three costumes. It's about the same color as Snippet's hair so we're going to make a headpiece and attach the braid to it, wind it around in a smallish bun on top of her head and let it hang down her back. I think it will act drama and distinction to the ensemble.

I've been imagining her prancing around on stage with a long ostrich or peacock plume in her hand and we've agreed she needs to be coated in body glitter, but that's about all I've got. I'm feeling a little behind on this costume. In years past the ideas have come to me pretty strongly and quickly, but I don't really seem to know what to do for this one.

Since I'm talking about them, how about we visit costumes past? In 6th grade, it was Cinderella and Redheaded Snippet was an ugly stepsister. She needed a garish, ugly, loud ball gown. So we went to Goodwill and found this:

You can't tell so much in the photo, but it was very sparkly. You also can't tell in the photo but it smelled very strongly of old lady (peppermints, liniment and Jean Nate').

We did this to it:

Reserved a few of these to put in her hair later:

Paired it with a matching blue skirt (also found at Goodwill) to which Lobelia had kindly and quickly attached a few layers of lavender tulle:

And topped it with these sparkly blue/purple/green shoes:

And voila! That's one ugly stepsister!

Last year, it was Annie Jr. and Redheaded Snippet was Miss Hannigan. We had a tremendous amount of fun with this costume. She actually needed two. We found almost everything at Goodwill. Here she is in her lounge wear: fuchsia pajama pants, cream shift and flowered robe used as a Kimono:

I did her make-up, put her hair in a chignon and attempted a finger wave:

We added a big ring, some dragon-lady fingernails and a cigarette holder Mom had in her costume stash (from when her church group played a live version of Clue) complete with a fake cigarette lovingly and hand-made by Daria.

Completing the effect was a fuchsia turban Daria had bought Mom for Christmas as a joke several years ago. I think she's ready for her close up:

The other costume needed very little added to it. We found this dress exactly as you see it here at Goodwill, minus the beads, of cours. Here, Mom is preparing to hem and cut out the front so Redheaded Snippet's rolled-down stockings and rouged knees would be visible.

The stockings, a pair of my Grandmom's old shoes, and a big flower over her ear were all this dress needed to be perfect! Don't you think she looked smashing?

This next one wasn't for a school play, but it did require a trip to Goodwill. Redheaded Snippet and her friends participated in an annual talent show at school and tied for first place. They lip synced and danced to the song from the Six Flags commercials so, of course, Redheaded Snippet was that crazy old man:

Probably our easiest costume to date, this one just required a black jacket and dress pants (from Goodwill's Menswear section), red suspenders, red bow tie, black glasses and bald cap. The suspenders came from Walmart and The Viking was kind enough to go find the bald cap and make the bow tie from a red ribbon we had lying around the house. Even Dad got in on the action this time! The bald cap looked goofy at close range, but from the stage it looked perfect!

So, can you see the kind of pressure I'm under? Everyone expects her to have a great costume and I'm just not feeling it yet. When I asked her director for some, um, direction on what her costume should look like she said, "I'm not telling you anything! I don't want to get in the way of your creative process at all! I can't wait to see what you come up with this year!" High praise, indeed, but that means I gotta get my rear in gear.

Hopefully today's plunderings of dollar and fabric stores will yield hearty booty. I don't know why I went pirate all of a sudden. But I think that's my cue to go get that nap.

1 comment:

Leila said...

You are a costume-designing genius.