By Chloe Goldberg
When myself and the two other assistants for Man of La Mancha (Patria Ferragamo and Vivian DelBello) heard we were going to be working for an outside designer we were very interested to see what he was like. We weren’t sure if this was going to be a great experience or an awful one, but it turned out to be excellent!
In our first meeting with Arthur we didn’t know how we were going to work together, but he immediately reassured us with his ideas of collaboration and working as a group. He expressed his interest in hearing what we thought about his design choices and what suggestions we might have. Throughout the process he would ask us our opinions and trust us with making decisions in a tight spot. It was great to know that we were doing a good job and it was rewarding that we were respected by someone we don’t work with on a student/faculty level.
Even though Arthur was not here full time, he was very hands-on. I had a really great time in fittings with him. During fittings have a conversation with the actor about their personal spin on their character, and he would press for details. He wanted the actor’s inner motivations to be worked into the costume. For example one of the Muleteers said during a fitting that he was supposed to be the more innocent of the men, so Arthur changed his costume to be less menacing. He worked with every aspect of the costumes to make the look right for each character. He would sit on the floor next to an actress and distress the bottom of her dress, calling me over to take a closer look so I could learn a new technique of distressing.
The distressing was somewhat of a running joke in the costume shop. If you ever meet Arthur you will understand what I mean when I say he is a very colorful man, and the show being mainly prisoners, was a very monochromatic color scheme. Lots of browns. For our paperwork we have to inventory lots of items, including borrowed pieces, and come up with very detailed descriptions to distinguish them from each other- we became experts in different shades of brown. “Sienna,” “redwood,” or “chestnut,” were just a few of our options. We also became aware of the many different ways to describe distressing of costumes to make them look dirty, old, or any combination thereof- they are endless! Despite the absence of bright color, the show was lacking in nothing else. The whole design team for the show really worked together to make a beautiful cohesive show. The costume team was a great group of people and we all put our heads together to make Arthur’s vision come to life.
Chloe Goldberg is a BFA Design/Technology major at Emerson College. She was also the assistant costume designer & make-up designer on Man of La Mancha.
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