April 26, 2014

James and the Giant Peach

The next Thin Ice Ensemble Theater play is "James and the Giant Peach," based on the Roald Dahl book. We have 28 actors, aged about 6 to 11.  Here are the sketches for their costumes.

The bodice of Aunt Sponge's dress is stuffed with fabric.  The actress is wearing two bum rolls and 3 very long, very full petticoats that hang from shoulder straps.  The dress is now too full to zip closed, needless to say.  The back opening is secured with three elastics, and she will wear the matching apron as a capelet to hide the back.

The bottom ruffle of Aunt Spiker's dress was removed to make a straighter line, and leave her ankles showing to add to the illusion of height.  Black trim is being added to emphasize the vertical, and the ruffle will become a turban-like hat.

Unlike in the book, our aunties don't die.  They reappear at the end, watching James' and the insects' triumph on the telly.  They will have canes and bandages to show they were hurt when the peach rolled over them.

The magical Little Old Man is being played by three girls.  I wanted them dressed identically, and decided to finally use the amazing dresses we call "The Supremes" and have never found a use for until now.  Purple satin sheaths with poofed, large-scale orange and purple plaid overskirts.  They are adult-sized and needed quite a bit of alteration, but will be worth it just to finally see them on stage.

The insects are dressed in human clothes evocative of the characters plus little touches of insect-ness.  They each receive a bit of bling or a prop at the end to indicate their new status.

Grasshopper is quite dapper.  Silkworm will be wrapped with a big sash or sari-like drape and turban.  Centipede, a self-avowed pest, and is dressed in an Artful Dodger look.  She has removable shoes made from a wonderful shoe print fabric Maureen discovered online, with layers of felt and velcro.  Spider has a headband with spider eyes made from stryofoam spheres, paint, and sequins.  Ladybug has a circle skirt with black felt spots stitched on, and elastic in the hem to pull it around two fluffy petticoats for a round body.  Earthworm has a long and narrow pink lace dress and sunglasses.  Glowworm has a bustle of green and yellow satin and net that will be lit by a string of mini-lights.

Thanks to my costume crew for helping design and create all these fun ideas!

The rest of the cast are narrators who take on other roles throughout the play.  They will all wear black base clothes and then add costume bits indicating their various roles.

I combined each actor's changes on this one page so I could visualize the whole thing better.  

The grey triangles indicate shark fins that are being created by two of the teens, made out of cardboard, grey duct tape, metallic grey spray paint, and elastic shoulder straps.  The white ovals indicate the white shower caps being worn by the Cloudmen. 

Sewing is nearly complete.  As with last year's Phantom Tollbooth, there is a whole lot of backstage organization needed to make this all work, and that is my next task.  Each narrator will have a section of a table backstage, with a list of all items and the order of changes.  I will also make labels for hangers and boxes in the dressing room.  

Post-show update:  Photos of the show in progress can be found on a subsequent blog post, and on my website.

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