These are photo's from the 3rd dress rehearsal. A discussion between Director Ken McGlaughlin, Set Designer Laura Fine Hawkes, and myself resulted in an abstract concept- a merging a contemporary minimalist aesthetic with historical reference from the late Victorian time period. This idea enabled the team to pay homage to the playwright's original intent and ultra freedom to creatively interpret the piece with a modern eye. 

• These are photo's from the 3rd dress rehearsal. A discussion between Director Ken McGlaughlin, Set Designer Laura Fine Hawkes, and myself resulted in an abstract concept- a merging a contemporary minimalist aesthetic with historical reference from the late Victorian time period.

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This idea enabled the team to pay homage to the playwright's original intent and ultra freedom to creatively interpret the piece with a modern eye.

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I drew from inspiration from 1870-90, when women wore corsets (tying costume to set with the caged set effect, pun intended), a smaller bustle (for movement)...

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I also focused on designing a a simpler silhouette (costume shop friendly).

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I focused on creating a distinct hierarchical class system (not always portrayed in other versions of the play).

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The end goal being the audience's understanding that the lower class is not powerless- we all connected and create the world together for good, and this case- ill.

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It was very important to focus on the idea of facade (a buzz word that became a strong driver of the directorial concept).

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the world as if in a dream.

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This way choices made did not have to be an exact and literal interpretation of the late Victorian period but more of an accentuation of elements of the period. By heightening the silhouette and through strong use of color, a very Brechtian theatricality is achieved (not real life).

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Research! More research, sketches, budget, more research, purchase, pull, plan, build, and illustrate.  Add to the wall (these boards are merely a sampling) and get to work! ;)

Set Design
Set Design
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Color Story
Color Story
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Silhouette
Silhouette
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Aging and Dying Beggars
Aging and Dying Beggars
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Male Beggars Research
Male Beggars Research
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Female Beggar Research
Female Beggar Research
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Original Prostitute Board
Original Prostitute Board
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Wig and Corset Board Prostitute
Wig and Corset Board Prostitute
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Another Prostitute Board with Cast
Another Prostitute Board with Cast
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Gangster Board with Cast
Gangster Board with Cast
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Police Board
Police Board
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Polly Look 1
Polly Look 1
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Polly look 2 and 3
Polly look 2 and 3
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quick jenny
quick jenny
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quick sketches (dragged) 3
quick sketches (dragged) 3
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quick sketches 1
quick sketches 1
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Mrs. Peachum Finished
Mrs. Peachum Finished
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Lucy Brown Final
Lucy Brown Final
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Polly Peachum Final
Polly Peachum Final
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Now we have a detailed plan for the semester!  After the discussion's with the draper, and ordering online and purchasing locally all the fabric and notions, the students and I begin to build. 

Now we have a detailed plan for the semester!  After the discussion's with the draper, and ordering online and purchasing locally all the fabric and notions, the students and I begin to build.

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Forms are padded out to match the actresses size.

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Here is a good look at the main silhouettes without all the bells and whistles.

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First, we prep the fabric, and then cut and sew petticoats from an historical pattern purchased online. This is a good exercise for new students to learn from those more seasoned (mostly made up of those that have worked with me the previous semester, or have just taken a basic costume construction class- shows what you can do :).

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Students and work study students also helped prepare for muslin fittings...

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and continued to work through to final garments.

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details such as bows are added with snaps for quick changes...

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then cuffs and dyed parasol...

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This shows some aging on Polly's Costume.

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This allowed for even more opportunities to work on a number of start to finish projects. Working this way, all kinds of techniques are learned.

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Did you see the wig above? Here are a few more natural hair and hand-knotted full lace wigs students styled.  Also, a few of the hats and accessories student worked on. They had their hands in altering, stretching, embellishing, with things like feathers and painted flowers. Plus- dying gloves, shoes, parasol, fans and and other.  

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Jenny Diver, the character below, transformed from the street singer to the Madame of the Brothel. 

Even though the red jacket didn't show up- the hat did- so we dyed Isaac's hair red and the show went on.

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Shout out to Austin Creswell for creating the Undergarment, start to finish, even though he was the stage manager.

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The shop custom made Jenny's corset- what fun, a corset for a man, to have a feminine look, but not entirely disguise the man!!

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Btw, his jacket had to be aged with acrylic paint because dye would not take on the fabric (outdoor furniture but just the right color and texture) we bought at Joanne's ;)

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Very pleased with the result.

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Below is one of five prostitute's in the making! Students cut (in muslin) five pattern's for the chemise (each had a different sleeve style) and bloomers. 

Students cut (in muslin) five pattern's for the chemise (each had a different sleeve style) and bloomers.

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Then after sewing, they fit, corrected the pattern, and then recut and finished in final fabric. Also, large amounts of lace were dyed and attached.

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Wigs arrived- 2 each.

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One was taken apart and sewn to the other strategically.

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Rats , styling and other special tricks were applied to get this look.

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The entire look (chemise, bloomer and corset) was dyed and aged (this included color correcting the fabric to match).

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Makeup is designed by student assistants, complete with backstories for each girl- bruises, and small wounds... more.

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Students also painted flowers, combined wigs, dyed shawls, and fixed shoes. More than that was learned in the process of whipping these gals together.

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This is the head prostitute Dolly.  She is a bit older than the other girls.  Can you tell by her finished makeup?  What gives it away...? Hint: darker lines and shadows blended in the right areas.  Students did sketches and research they presented so we could discuss properly and presented to the cast formally. They also did pre-final and final makeup tests. In the end this was helpful for teaching the run crew and volunteer student collaborators.

This is the head prostitute Dolly. She is a bit older than the other girls. Can you tell by her finished makeup? What gives it away...? Hint: darker lines and shadows blended in the right areas.

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Students did sketches and research they presented so we could discuss properly and presented to the cast formally. They also did pre-final and final makeup tests. In the end this was helpful for teaching the run crew and volunteer student collaborators. Also, makeup tests and makeup concept conversations were held with the director, we all agreed to push the facade by creating a mask like image.

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We agreed the prostitutes should differ from the beggars in this way, although they are tied together (you will see this when you get to the beggar photos).

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Each prostitute had a distinct color palette but all were painterly and had a watercolor effect (ok, answer here- like the beggars).

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These are the beggars.  Their makeup (like the prostitutes) has a watercolor-painterly effects, but much looser and seemingly randomly applied. This relate to the beggars action on stage, when they paint signs for panhandling, as part of their beggarly duties.  Some of the girls dressed as boys and vice versa.  Can you tell who is who? not really and not important? good- that's the idea- facade!

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These is a beggar (there were ten). The makeup (like the prostitutes) has a watercolor-painterly effects, but much looser and seemingly randomly applied.

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This relate to the beggars action on stage, when they paint signs for panhandling, as part of their beggarly duties.

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The beggars are Peachum's Gang (hence the peach flower) and what they wear is a costume given to them by Peachum, another way to play with facade.

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The first makeup tests were a bit too realistic, but that evolved to further this concept of facade.

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Btw, these photos were taken by a student photographer Willow Howell for a grade.

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I gave a heads up to the director before first dress, letting him know that we wanted to see the beggars under the stage lights before calling them done (correct level's of saturation and detail).

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The students continued to work on the aging and dying and makeup looks until final dress- when both were ready.

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Also, some of the girls dressed as boys and vice versa. Can you tell who is who? not really and not important? good- that's the idea- facade!

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These are the men of the opera. The students very carefully helped create and maintain many the looks for these characters.  

The students very carefully helped create and maintain many the looks for these characters. This is Mack the Knife, his costume is the only one without color, except when he wears his yellow kid gloves, as stated in the script.

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The students very carefully helped create the looks for their hair. His action and emotion causes his costume and yes, hair, to become undone and disheveled slowly throughout the show, but that's ok, it's part of the arch of the character. Check out his neck scar- perfectly visible to the back row.

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This is Tiger Brown, in a brown suit and tie (made by a student). He is the dirty police commissioner. Well, everyone in the show is dirty (not Mack) due to the the aging on the suits- pun intended. Keep looking for this on the other gangsters. We decided to keep the actors ponytail when, after research and discovery, it was deemed appropriate for the period. It also was in keeping with his bad boy image.

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Mr. Peachum, who is older than the actor playing him, was helped along thanks to a bit of old age makeup. Also, he is made peachier by adding eyebrows and a mustache with crepe hair and spirit gum.

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The gangsters, well, they are a very colorful lot indeed.

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The gangsters were easy to dress in some ways- as their suits did not have to fit...

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What you do not see is that although to make the suits ill fitting, some alterations are needed. Also, they must be maintained through the run of the show (for those unexpected blowouts).

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Ultimately, there is a lot of work that goes into creating a finished character with all the details.

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Cops, priest, and victorious messenger riding!  The play is actually a comedy.

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Matthew_Shutske__Reverand_Kimball_ThreePenny-3329
Matthew_Shutske__Reverand_Kimball_ThreePenny-3329
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...but in the the last moments a very serious and moving message is delivered.