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Mrs. Hawking's widow's weeds

This past Monday was Veteran's Day, and since I had the day off, I took the opportunity to organize a photo shoot to have more images for the Mrs. Hawking website. I thought it would be good to have more images specifically depicting events that happen in the play. My beautiful models crearespero and nennivan were kind to oblige me, and they are both lovely, perfect for the look of the characters, and wonderful to work with. I haven't had time to process all the photos yet, but I hope to be able to have them ready to post shortly.

I photographed them in a number of costumes, but one that turned out especially well was Mrs. Hawking's widow's gown. Mrs. Hawking finds it necessary to outwardly appear to conform to normal standards when dealing with other people-- her nephew Nathaniel in particular, because the more he worries about her, the more he well-meaningly meddles in her life. So, since her husband has only been dead a year, when in company she concedes to the standards of widow's dress. That meant I needed to make a very traditional looking black gown for her.

I do most of my costuming by adapting pieces I find in thrift stores to my purposes. Global Thrift in Waltham has been incredibly useful to me over the years, and it was there that I found the basis for this dress. Honestly, I kind of hated it on sight. On the hanger it looked like a garbage bag, black and shiny and chintzy. I have kind of a love-hate relationship with dresses made of moire-- an iridescent fabric that looks like it has water ripples or wood knots in it --because I always find it pretty when I first glance at it, but the longer I look at it, it looks cheap. But it had a lot of the details I'm looking for in the basis of a Victorian gown, a ruffled collar, puffy sleeves, a cloth belt at the waist.

I bought it without high hopes for it. It just looked so damn tacky in the store. The checkout girl used it to wrap a glass decanter I bought in the same trip, and I never even bothered to unpack it. When this photo shoot rolled around, I hadn't even tried it in combination with the other elements of the costume, so for all I knew it wasn't going to work at all. But when I tried it on Frances, with black long gloves and over two layers of full tiered skirts kindly lent to me by inwaterwrit... it transformed. Charlotte pinned the collar closed with a black and silver brooch, and cut a slit up the back of the dress so that it spread out over the skirts, and they even puffed out through the slit in the back to make a sort of bustle-y detail. The moire looked appropriate for the sort of tapestry appearance of fancy Victorian fabric. All together, it made for a shockingly beautiful, and shockingly accurate-looking, costume. I'm really pleased at how well it turned out, but also that I think this is evidence that my eye as costumer is developing, as I'm getting better and better at spotting pieces that will work in combination even if I never actually see them together until they're fulling assembled.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 13th, 2013 06:04 pm (UTC)
yaaaaaay i'm happy to see these pictures up; this photoshoot was like the one productive thing i did this weekend and all i really did was stand/sit around in complicated clothing and get photographed. but still, it makes me feel like i did something. And wow i look pretty cool in these aw yeah.
Nov. 13th, 2013 08:33 pm (UTC)
Hey, I am of the opinion that it takes some ability to model well, so I definitely think you did something! And hell, yeah, you look amazing. Particularly in that second one. Your combination of your ability to act and to look awesome is a big reason why I love taking pictures of you!
Nov. 13th, 2013 07:24 pm (UTC)
I feel like a hat with a veilis almost required in the first picture :)
Nov. 13th, 2013 08:27 pm (UTC)
A nice broad brimmed number, with almost netting for a veil?
Nov. 14th, 2013 12:50 pm (UTC)
You know, I even have one, I just didn't use it because I wanted to see her face. Maybe I'll do another with that hat sometime. :-)
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

About Me

My name is Phoebe. I'm Boston area theater professional and English professor focused in writing, acting, directing, and modeling. I'm known for having lots of interests, lots of opinions about those interests, and a very high estimation of the value thereof. This blog is for talking about whatever's on my mind, from my daily life to my activities to musing on any number of abstract topics. Thanks for taking the time to read.

My productions:

Upcoming Productions:

MRS. HAWKING part 2 and 3

at the Watch City Steampunk Festival 2016

presented by The Chameleon's Dish

Vivat Regina
by Phoebe Roberts

at 2PM


Base Instruments
by Phoebe Roberts

at 6PM

Saturday, May 13th 2017
at 274 Moody Street, Waltham, MA

Other Achievements:

"The Tailor at Loring's End" screenplay
Quarter Finalist in the Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Competition 2013

"Adonis" screenplay
Top Ten Percent in the Bluecat Screenwriting Contest 2015

Latest Month

April 2017


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