The Year So Far, as seen through the Costume Internship
By Kelsey Socha
It’s been less than a week since Brighton Beach Memoirs opened, but it already feels like we’re much farther away than that. The really remarkable thing about theatre is how it just…keeps going. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion, and with Brighton Beach’s opening, our season is now suddenly an unstoppable force. Not that we’d want to stop it—the exciting thing about doing shows is how transient and fast paced everything is. That’s what I think, at least.
The beginning of October marks a big change for me as Portland Stage’s costume intern. For all of September, Susan (the absolutely amazing shop manager) and I got to focus entirely on Brighton Beach Memoirs, blissfully ignoring everything to come after it. We built and rebuilt some lovely 1930’s dresses and robes from frail vintage originals, and did countless lovely alterations and repairs and even managed to spend some time organizing the treacherous shelves of our shoe storage with the help of trusted stage management intern Alex and intrepid sets intern Jen. Susan even taught me the art of knitting (in the past week and a half, I’ve made hats for humans and felines alike).
But that was September. As the weather gets colder, and the leaves start falling from the trees, and Brighton Beach Memoirs plays on (Get your tickets today! It’s really funny and sweet! The costumes are beautiful!), we are getting closer and closer to the advent of Christmas. And with that comes the inescapable truth: winter is coming, and with it, A Christmas Carol.
Suddenly, October has become…not chaos, but a time of more complex work schedules and time budgeting. I’m the wardrobe manager (and spotlight operator!) for Brighton Beach, which means a lot of time going into laundry and show prep. Meanwhile, next week begins rehearsals and costume fittings for Souvenir, the second show of our season. We’ve already begun to drape muslin mockups of some of the dresses we’re building for our leading lady, so that we’ll be ready for the designer’s arrival. Meanwhile, in the gaps of time that we have left, we’ve begun to strategize what we’re building for A Christmas Carol (as much as possible, including a really magical redesign of Christmas Past), and how we can effectively use our time to be the most ready. The mind boggles.
But, for all of the semi-hectic times ahead, I couldn’t be more excited. I get to go to work and pattern and make beautiful historically accurate dresses and make theatre happen. It’s so incredibly awesome.
Also, and more importantly, this year is going to be the best-costumed production of A Christmas Carol in the state of Maine. Or so I’ve heard.