Little Women at BYUH


I'm spending my Friday night (and Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday nights) backstage at the BYUH McKay theater. It is not as exciting as you may think. Actors come in and out. They goof around and talk about stuff that college age kids talk about. They play games or play on their computer or listen to their ipods. There are a lot of touch ups to makeup and long stares into mirrors and randomly practiced lines.

I am here in case something happens to a costume. Last night we fixed two buttons, placed a handfull of safety pins into a ripped out seam and stitched up a tear in a wedding dress train. Tonight I have tied a bow and brushed some lint off a suit coat and spent a lot of time playing on my computer. Kind of relaxing after so much hard work.

The last four weeks have been a mad dash of sewing and altering and embellishing and accessorizing. The total ending costume count was as follows:
23 actors
52 costumes
229 pieces (a skirt is a piece, a shirt is a piece, etc.)

of those pieces
32 were ordered from a costume company (men's period tuxedos)
34 were made specifically for this play (13 by students)
164 were pulled from our costume closet and about half of these had an alteration or embellishment of some sort that were specific to this play and actors.

included in this count were
33 pieces of footwear
9 wigs
13 petticoats (7 were made new)
13 pieces of jewelery
16 pieces of headwear

Total man hours to complete the costuming for this play:


My students spent 84 hours in class working on costumes. They spent another 83 hours out of class working on the costumes. That is a total of 167 hours and I've only got 3 students! One of those very committed students worked 40 of those 83 out-of-class hours all by herself.

My student assistant, Jessica, has worked approximately 85.5 hours. She is a paid student worker. In January she took a few days off because she was sick and she took a couple more when she got married. (Congratulations Jessica!)

So far that is a total of 252.5 hours from students, paid and unpaid.

I spent 12 hours (possibly more but that's all I documented) reading and re-reading the script, researching the period and designing the costumes. I spent 6 hours shopping for materials and pieces. That does not include travel time because I combined every shopping trip with at least one personal in-town errand. I have been instructing students in the Costume Construction and Design class through 28 hours of class time. Lastly, I spent 91 more hours in the costume shop working on costumes. This includes sewing, fitting, finishing, laundering and also all the dress rehearsal and show prep.

That's a total of 137 hours that I have spent costuming this, my first show, Little Women.

Total man hours=389.5

I was pretty happy with what I saw when I watched the show on final dress rehearsal night. I am anxious to get feedback and to move on to my next show beginning Tuesday. Soon I'll post some pictures of the costumes, all taken from back stage.

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