Old Theatre UAF Costume Shop Page Part 3: Subsidiary Rooms
I retired early from UAF back in 2007, so the Theatre UAF Costume Shop Web presence Has Moved to Theatre UAF Official Site however, old and new UAF students may appreciate these old pages about the costume studio during my time there from 1988-2007. So here is a trip down memory lane. ---Tara Maginnis
Costume Storage, Makeup Room and Costume Library
The Hat Room
Where,obviously, the hats, masks, and helmets are stored. Jeannine Patane, a former shop manager(1994-96), made racks that have horizontal strings with attached clothes-pins that holdthe hats by the dozens on each row without crushing them.
Beyond the Hat Room is:
The Unisex Bathroom
cat box. The UnisexBathroom is equipped with a shower, where students and faculty who get so "into"the Alaskan thing that they decide to rent a log cabin without water or electricity canget washed. It's always funny to arrive "first" in the morning, only to discoverthat the real "first" arrival, one of your colleagues, is greeting you in thebathroom saying, "Um, ah, could you hand me that towel? On the opposite end of theCostume shop is the...
,that has, thanks to lots of local donors a pretty good collection of shoes, aswell as other costumeaccessories like corsets, lingerie, aprons, purses, etc. It also has our fun (though notterribly valuable)
Shoe Roomcollection of antique andvintage clothing used for study purposes in the
Also in the
downstairs area are the
Men's and Women's Dressing Rooms
which double as classrooms, student scene rehearsal space, and naturally, makeup rooms.These rooms were furnished by the Theatre Department itself, using old pipe and lumber,Formica countertops, and bits of old wiring mainly. Somehow the building never camefurnished with mirrors or counters for makeup.
The Women's Dressing Room has long been called ThePassion Pit because of a Guindon cartoon poster affixed to the door, in which a nerdyolder man yells "PASSION!" like Marlon Brando asStanley Kowalski, to the astonishment of his dumpy wife in the next room.
Two years ago somebody did a cartoon on the Men's door of a lizard-man ina tacky suit trying to pick up a space-alien girl in a bar which declared The Men'sDressing Room to be The Lust Lounge-dedicated to the memory ofBrian Bennett" a former student actor. The Women's Dressing Room isalso home to my series of
Faces paintings whichare used as instructional aids in the
My Office and Costume Library...
My Office and Costume Library...
....arealso downstairs. Actually, when I was first hired at UAF I made it a condition ofemployment that the department would provide me with enough industrial shelving to hold mybooks. They were a bit amazed when I sent them up by mail ahead of me--all 40 padded boxesworth. My office has been recently moved from it's old home to a new space where I can keep all my costume books in the one room. I even bought wooden shelves to make the place look civilized.
I stopped having the patience to countmy costume books in graduate school, when I got up to 1000 books, magazines and pamphlets.My "Costume Books" are not all costume books, but lots of things that do thesame job: Sears Catalogs from the 1930's 1940's and 1950's, Mexican domestic magazines ofthe 1920's and 1930's with patterns, Vogues from the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's, Peterman,Frederick's, and Banana Republic Catalogs, Victorian Photography books, pamphlets fromColonial Williamsburg, Xeroxed copies of 19th and Early 20th Century tailoring manuals,Medieval and Renaissance art history books, anything, in fact with pictures, diagrams, ordescriptions of clothes. These books can be checked out by students and are a supplementto the UAF Library, which is already the largest library in Alaska. Community members mayborrow my books also, by paying a refundable deposit. My collection is particularly strongin Indigenous American dress both Indian and Eskimo, Siberian and Russian dress, civilianclothing during W.W.II, 18th Century dress, Hippie dress, Diagalev ballet costume, andhistorical patterns. Two floors up is the...
Upstairs Storage Room,
The former designer JaynaOrchard had a real knack for complex and well made Victorian dresses, so we have a lot ofthose, we have donated clothes of the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's in such profusion that formy first big show at UAF,
As You Like It, I talkedthe director, Lee Salisbury into letting me do it c.1973 with the bad duke as Nixon, andthe good duke as a hippie guru.
There are also all the bizarre one of a kind things I've had to make for my funcrazy directors, Tom and Anatoly, who do things like "I see the play as across between a heavy metal rock concert and the Republican Convention",or "It's a children's musical for
Christmas,with Santa, set in a
Stalinist Gulag."Another big part of stock is a lot of donated formalwear, much of which is white 1950'stuxes with stains that show---unless you
paint or dyesomething bright and outrageous on top.
Costume storage is laid out for the costume history impaired, by sorting clothes by type(skirts, long dresses, short dresses, capes & robes, shirts, etc.) not by period orstyle. Within the sections the clothes are divided by color, with color tags dividing thegroups, just to make things clearer. However, like with all stock rooms, if you don't lookin on it for a week, you find hot pink women's pants racked in with the men's bluejackets. Practicum Students who neglect to do their hours till the end of the semester,get to swelter in the heat with me up there during Stock Week, sorting the pants, foldingthe sweaters, and generally wishing they'd done their hours when they were supposed to.