4000 Miles Costume Designer/AC Member Monica Butler and Wardrobe Supervisor/AC Member Shannon Heibler became pen-pals this week, and asked each other some questions about what goes on behind the scenes.
From Monica, answered by Shannon:
1) What is the most satisfying thing about your work as wardrobe supervisor with Forward?
Shannon: My relationship with the actors and knowing that I'm making a small but crucial part of their job easier for them.
2) What is the most challenging?
Shannon: The schedule can be kind of tough. When the show is over, the bulk of my work is just beginning. Laundry needs to be done and repairs need to be made, no matter how late the show gets out!
3) What is something about the work that really surprised you?
Shannon: I love quick changes. I love them. They can be the most stressful part of the job, absolutely, but they set a high bar of getting things done quickly, well, and painlessly. Doing a load of laundry is pretty much the same every night - a quick change can always go more smoothly.
From Shannon, answered by Monica:
1) What is your favorite part of the costume design process?
Monica: I love fittings with the actors. A design doesn't come together for me until I get to start putting clothes on people and talking with them. Instead of coming into a fitting with a fully formed design, I usually bring in a starting place and then I enjoy a collaborative discovery process by seeing how an actor wears and uses their clothes. Then I make more decisions from there and continue to build and adjust the look until everything works in the best way to serve the show (hopefully!!!)
2) Which character in 4000 Miles was your favorite to design for?
Monica: The character of Leo has been a fun one for me on this play because he has an interesting limitation (I really like a good limitation as a challenge). He can only have the clothes that would fit in his bike panniers. It's kind of like the desert island challenge-if you could only have 5 things on a desert island what would they be? So if you could only have clothes that fit in these little bike packs and that also tell a story about yourself, what would those clothes be? It is a great challenge!
3) If you could bring one costume piece from any Forward show you've designed home to your own closet, what would it be?
Monica: I am fond of Tracy Arnold's suit from The Other Place. I really appreciate the power of a good suit jacket.