Creative challenges abound in the Virginia City Opera House. From otherworldly interruptions; to memorizing an entire new vaudeville show in a week while performing another vaudeville show; to me tripping over stuff; to creating and committing to strong character choices without rehearsal, these challenges can make a clumsy actress (not me) anxious as we transition from one play to the next. And because Phantom of the Opera has been our most dramatic and technically complex show of all, I especially needed an outlet for nerves, angst, and my ongoing need to be ridiculous. But what better way to stay fun and silly and uncluttered than to present my mind with a different kind of creative challenge?
On the opening night of Phantom of the Opera, we debuted our vaudeville costumes to one another. The first variety number -- an all-male quintet -- was to be performed in bright red-and-white-striped t-shirts and shorts. Now, while the photo below may not look too abrasive, up close these babies are a lot to force upon your retinae. As I glimpsed them for the first time (and subsequently sang my eyeballs a reassuring lullaby to get them to calm down), I wondered aloud -- charmingly and without judgment, of course -- why this outfit dared exist. Maybe it's supposed to blind and disable your enemies. Maybe it's a reassuring ensemble for those who live in constant fear that a plane is going to land on them. Maybe it's what Christmas lovers wear on hunting ground so they won't be shot.
As I continued to theorize about the potential reasons behind the invention of the dreaded red and white stripes, I could not resist the temptation to make this a daily feat. So, each and every performance, I challenged myself to create a new explanation for them. There were days I almost didn't make it, but here they all are. 32 performances, 32 possibilities. We may never know the true purpose of these "clothes." Of course, as I reluctantly conceded to the quintet, "it could just be a fun and flamboyant outfit you wear to initiate the audience into a colorful variety show...
* See left-most person in 1st picture for aforementioned ginger.
** Reference to the movie, Stepbrothers, in which Will Ferrell's favorite sauce, "Fancy Sauce," is a mixture of mayonnaise and ketchup.
About this blog...
19th century melodrama,
haunted costume shops,
my discovery that "sump" is a word...
Box and Cox, a satire about two English gents unwittingly renting the same flat.
Season complete. Bags packed.