4/21/10

What Happens Behind the Scenes

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of a production, whether it be a big production or a local television production?  Lately I have had the opportunity to go behind the stage to take a look at both. 
Our local theatre on the University campus was making costumes for their upcoming 42nd Street production when the call for help came to me.  I volunteered to help out.  I was able to see how it all begins with the design for a costume.
Isn't this the most darling dress?  It makes me want to live in that era just so I can twirl in it! 
 
Of course, there must be a very talented designer who can do this and who also helps in the costume department afterward to make sure every detail of his designs can be implemented.  The day I was there I was taught by this designer how to place, one by one, small swarovski crystals (120 of them per pair!) on the pants of the eleven tap dancers.  It took about half an hour per pair! (I can't wait to see the play and those crystals sparkle!)
 
 After the design is drawn, then the pattern has to be made by hand--usually on Kraft paper.
 
The fabrics are chosen.  Sometimes unusual fabric is used.  I watched a curtain, which had been white but had been dyed orange, being used for part of one of the dresses.
Then the sewing begins.  This room was lined with sewing machines.   There were regular sewing machines, commercial ones that sewed with lightning speed, serger machines and racks and racks of thread, notions, scissors,  ironing boards of every size and shape and lots of mannequins.
 
It was fun to see all the talented people all enjoying working on their part of the production.  There was also a milliner from New York making the hats that were needed for this play.
 
I asked them what happened to all the costumes after the play and was told that they are all stored.  Some of them are used again as they are or they are altered to the specifications of the next play.  In the meantime, they all have a home in a very large room and sorted according to category.  Here are about 400 belts on one rack.  Actually I need a gray skinny belt.  I bet I could have found one or two on this rack!
Another day I was on the set of a local TV program and got to see and visit with the camera men there and watch them set up each camera for the different segments of the show.  They were a happy bunch doing what they love.  Each segment is thought through and scripted, usually by an intern, as to what order each part will be taped and when the commercial break will occur.
There was a whole back room filled with props for display.
Of course, the participants have lots to do before the TV show to make the items which they will present.  These are a few of my daughters items for her segment on doilies.
 
Then the camera man has to prepare the guest with her microphone.
 
The displays need to be set up just right for the cameras.
 
Finally the taping begins and the studio is quiet.  Then, the segment is over in less than 6 minutes!
I have learned to appreciate and understand that what we see the hour or two while being purely entertained, took many people many hours of preparation before then.  Don't we live in a wonderful land where all this can happen just so our lives can be happy and fuller?
 

4 comments:

wenderful said...

Very cool pictures, Mom! That looks like it was a ton of fun. :)

Sue said...

Thanks for the ride! Really fun...and interesting, too.

=)

Beth at Aunties said...

I loved reading this and my you have been a busy lady. I am glad your wonderful talents came in handy for '42nd Street'. I really wanted to go see it after reading it was going to be here. The fashions do look so fun.
Jen is amazing. You raised three very talented women!
:")

Connie Weiss said...

It's amazing how much prep goes into a TV show or on stage production. It makes me appreciate it all the more.

Thanks for the behind the scenes peek to Studio 5. I'm always so proud of Jen when I watch her on the show.