This week we traveled to Cambridge, MA, home of the American Repertory Theater. Now we begin "Tech," or the part of the creative process when we move the show out of the rehearsal studio and onto the stage. This is often one of the most tedious parts of the process – long hours spent setting light cues, figuring out set moves, spacing dance numbers on the stage, etc. However it is also one of the most exciting parts of the process because we get to see the real sets, costumes, and props for the first time and begin to incorporate them into the show. It is a time of exploration and discovery and a time when the world of the show really starts to come alive!
Most of the company was not called to the theater until Tuesday of this week. However I had a costume fitting Monday, so I got to sneak into the theater a little early and catch a glimpse of the "load-in." Load-in is exactly what it sounds like; the crew literally loads all of the set pieces and equipment for the show into the theater. Seeing the theater full of cherry pickers, ladders, and equipment (and busy crew members in hard hats) is really cool. It is amazing to watch the magical world of "Pippin" being built right before your eyes.
I must also say that seeing Tony Award-winner Scott Pask's vibrant set for the first time took my breath away. He has draped a sweeping tent around the perimeter of the stage reminiscent of an actual big top circus tent. The stage is rectangular, but the set gives the illusion that you are inside a traditional round circus tent. The effect is stunning. I can't wait to see the rest of the sets over the course of the week!
At my costume fitting I got to try on my "Magic To Do" and "Glory" costumes, both of which are gorgeous. Our costume designer, Dominique Lemieux, and the entire wardrobe team at the A.R.T. have been working around the clock to construct the beautiful original costumes for our production. Dominique's intricate designs and original printed fabrics reflect tremendous attention to line and detail and a true understanding of how to flatter the body. The costumes are simultaneously sexy and whimsical with bright colors and circus flair. She has also had the added challenge of creating costumes that will accommodate the dancing and acrobatics. The boys climbing Chinese poles need thick pants to protect their legs. The aerialists need smooth costumes that will not get caught on the apparatuses. The contortionists and dancers need costumes that allow for tremendous mobility. But Dominique has a long history of designing for circus performers, so she is well equipped for the job!
Assistant Costume Designer Ameera Ali, Costume Designer Dominique Lemieux, and A.R.T Costume Shop Manager Jeannette Hawley
"Pippin" company members at meet and greet