Isabella Houle ‘19
Although I don’t know the first thing about operating a light board and barely know how I would keep track of moving furniture and props, I have learned organizational skills that rival anything you’d find on a study blog, have moved very quickly under extreme pressure and time constraints, and have fielded many stressed-out questions from people demanding a lot from me. How have I gotten this wide and invaluable experience, you might ask? Costumes Crew. On Costumes, I work in the about-two-week stint of Pre-Tech, Tech Week, and the show weekends.
Pre-Tech for us is all about figuring out the show. With Ms. Liberman’s help, we gauge the show and see what is needed. We learn information and see moments to which we will later become very close, like one actor’s thirty second quick change, or the vast amount of bow-ties that we need to keep careful track of. Mostly, it’s about familiarizing. We learn the characters’ and actors’ names if we don’t know them, we see who wears what, we pick up tunes and lyrics (sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally).
Then comes Tech Week. For the first few days, it’s sheer anarchy. We figure out what’s needed just by experiencing it. We figure out the best way to do a quick change, we help people with costumes that don’t fit or need adjustments. I often help everyone get their quick changes together and make sure the actors are set in their costumes, or else I man the headset, the greenroom’s communication to the booth and stage managers. My task always depends on the show and what everyone needs -- that’s what I like the most about costumes; it’s unpredictable, and I never know exactly what I’ll be doing to give support during a given rehearsal.
And then come the shows themselves. Hopefully, by then, we’ve gotten the quick changes down pat and know our cues to bring whatever is needed at given points in the show. Now, it’s about expecting things. We must be at the ready to zip someone as they run up for their next song, or else be prepared to safety pin someone’s pants right as they finish changing. Everyone’s hyped up on energy. The enthusiasm is palpable, and it’s a feeling of camaraderie that I rarely get from anywhere else.
Before I know it, it’s over. Just as I’ve gotten my changes set and learned the music, we’ve closed. But I do know, every time, that we’ve had a successful run and that I’ve contributed to something great. From everything I’ve learned to all the people I’ve met, I’ve loved my time on Costumes and can’t wait for Titanic’s round of shows to come.