Costuming a Shakespearean Spoof

The A2 Ensemble’s production of Shakespeare’s “King Phycus” by Tom Willmorth averages at least 10 characters per actor.  That’s approximately 60 characters in all that need to be clothed… for a ridiculously tiny budget.  Costume designer Alexandra Goodman stepped up to the challenge and surpassed all expectations with her ingenuity and talent.  Oh, and she did it pro bono.  For a more in depth look into the insanity that was her last few weeks, see her responses to our questions below. Fun fact.  All of the photos featured in this blog were taken by… wait for it… Alexandra Goodman!

AC: This is your first time costume designing a show. What attracted you to it?

AG: 6 actors, 30 characters, 100 dollars.  Sounds like a reality show challenge, doesn’t it?

AC: All the actors have to play several roles, how did you go about distinguishing different persona?

AG: This was a huge hurdle.  There are six actors to play 30 roles and finding a ‘base character” for each actor was a real stumper.  To begin with, I made a bunch of spread sheets, lists, quick-change plots, and character breakdowns to see what angle was best to start from, but I scrapped all that and just looked at two classifications: Roman & English.  John Apicella wanted some classic Roman-ish elements due to text references, but he also said anachronisms may fly freely.  And also to come under budget and accommodate the quickest quick changes I think have ever been written, the idea of creating reversible costumes was formed!  I’m very proud of these, by the way!

AC: Are there similarities in acting and designing? What are they? What are the most interesting differences?

AG: There are no similarities whatsoever.  Acting is a feeling-oriented endeavor, designing is a thinking-oriented one.  Even though they are both crafts that you can learn, I have discovered that costuming
requires a hell of a lot of thought and now I have much more respect for designers– I think what they do is waaaaaayyyy harder than acting!

AC: What was your experience like working on this?

AG: I loved it because I got to troll thrift stores using someone else’s money (an activity I do all too often with my own meager funds) and have the satisfaction of completing a project on time and within a budget.  I was super conscious of what the actors felt about their costumes and what I could do to make them happy, even if that meant I had to figure out a way to make an re-usable adult diaper.  Also, this was an opportunity to step up and show a little love for A2 in a different capacity, and create a memorable experience for all us
ensemble members, on and off the stage.

AC: Can you apply what you have learned to your acting?

AG: Well, what I’ve learned actually applies to the fantastic cast– no matter what ridiculous thing your costumer makes you wear, milk it for all the mileage you can!  That’s what my Phycus peeps do and it’s truly a side-splitting sight to behold!

AC: Is there a costume piece that you are the most proud of?

AG: My favorite piece is a little over the top– ok, really over the top. I’ll leave you with just this, if you’ve seen it you know what I’m talking about: boob scarf. [Editor’s note:  why leave it to the imagination when we have pictures?!]

What are the rest of the cast and production team saying about the costumes?  Here are the highlights:

“Never did I think I would wear a catsuit and sock boobs in one show.  Thank you, Alexandra!”  ~Belen Green, Player Three

“Never did costumes that cost a nickel look so good and smell so…” ~Adam Meyer, Producer

“Alex’s costumes make my acting look huge.” ~Jason Thomas, Player Six

“Compared to Alex Goodman, Project Runway is about as boring as listening to Death Cab for Cutie on repeat.”  ~Deirdre Murphy, Producer & Sound Designer

A2 Member, Alexandra Goodman, momentarily puts down the needle to chat with us about Shakespeare’s “King Phycus” by Tom Willmorth, directed by John Apicella.  Make your reservation at  Suggested Donation $10


1 Comment

  1. #AWESOME. By absolute definition. @Alexandra Goodman –Yay for you taking this on. God I wish I had the chance to see it! Well at least I got to see YOU;)

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