New Costume Designer gets swept to Oz

By: Narges Taghavi

Feature Editor

Rose State College theatre department puts on a variety of productions each year and time and hard work go into making these shows spectacular. Many elements go into putting on a great show, such as talented actors who can bring characters to life and a script that captivates the audience.

However, there is one major part of a production that is rarely acknowledged, the costumes, and Brenda Nelson has stepped in as the new costume designer for these shows.

Although, she has an interest in the fashion world, costume design is uncharted territory for her.

Brenda Nelson faces the organized chaos of the theatre department closet. Photo Narges Taghavi.

“I was always more interested in fashion, and did not come to costume design for the theatre until much later. I was around the theatre community while at the University of Oklahoma, and, although not a theatre major, I did meet with the OU Costume Designer to discuss my interest in fashion history, and was invited to take his costume history class the next semester,” Nelson said.

Nelson’s first job will be designing the costume for the upcoming production of the “Wizard of Oz”, opening in November.

“Large cast shows such as this start out to be rather nerve-racking, but exhilarating at the same time.  As I move through the process, step-by-step, I find that there’s too much to be done and there’s really no time to be nervous.  The most important thing for me is to stay calm, focused, and above all, organized,” Nelson said.

The process that Nelson goes through is to start by reading the script, making a list of characters, studying the time period of the play and then deciding the specific costumes for each scene.

“A lot of questions follow, such as how many changes are needed for each character, are there any quick changes, are there any unusual or possibly hard to find pieces needed and can the show be pulled from the stock on hand, rented or borrowed from another theatre, or is it reasonable to build the costumes from scratch,” Nelson said, “In most cases the larger cast shows are a combination of these, and it’s up to the designer to ensure that it’s all-cohesive and works together on stage.”

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