Unity In Diversity- How the production at Inventure Academy brought together students from 6 different grades for costume design

When I chose art for Production little did I know what to expect. When I had picked costume design as a category over set and prop design, I thought it would be relatively easy and that the requirements would be to draw a couple of figures and use creativity to clothe them in attire. Boy, was I wrong! I soon learned that at costume design I had to research on the different time periods involved, come up with props, head dresses and more importantly colors for every design.

The team was initially 7 as most thought it would be boring but we had students with fresh perspectives come forward to complete the costume design team. The final team included Ananya and Lola (grade6), Asha, Siri and Teresa (grade7), Evanka, Samhita and Janvi ( grade8), Anusha and Maya (grade10), Nadira ( grade11), Varsha, Yamini and Shraddha ( grade12) under the able guidance of Aditi ma’am.

Because costume design was a crucial part of the production, we requested to go to a quieter place with a computer so we could check elements of the particular time period and combine them with our draft.  When we first came together as a group, one of the suggestions were to read the script to get a better understanding of the characters. We then picked out the most appealing characters and started working on them.  We were on our own for a month before Aditi ma’am joined us and helped us make a costume from our designs.   It was fun as we were given the freedom and liberty to pick a character to design costumes using our creativity and put it down on paper.

After each of us had drawn and colored a design, it was shown to the senior most members and Aditi ma’am for feedback. After making any necessary alterations it was labeled in block letters and then sent to Deepti ma’am for final approval. Later Aditi ma’am, Yamini and Shraddha went shopping on Commercial Street and got us clothes to measure and cut.  These were then given to tailors along with our designs and measurement.

Being in the costume design team also meant deciding what could be store bought or tailored, designing accessories for the choir and band, securing our tools to work with and hand painting a few dresses with our own stencils. This part was really fun and enjoyable.  And for a while none of us could travel anywhere without a chorus of begging for us to reveal their costumes.

We felt really proud when costume design team was acknowledged first; even before the actors enabling everyone to appreciate the hard work that went behind the scenes in creating these costumes.

Costume Design process also included accessories for the characters, dancer, choir and band. Since wreaths symbolized the Greek period, one of our jobs was to cut leaves from a chart paper, paint them in different shades of green, pierce them with a needle and put onto cut wires and later on flecked with drops of gold paint. We needed at least a hundred and twenty wreaths. All the members worked on the wreaths as a group which took about two weeks. Another problem was Lady Gatsby’s attire.  In a single attire how do you make someone look Victorian, modern and funky while adorning butterflies as well?  Almost every one of us got a chance to contribute to this dress giving our ideas and combining it with others. After numerous discussions and twelve or so drafts we were finally rewarded with success.

In the last week before production, everyone got their costumes and while they were oohing, we stood back and appreciated our handiwork. Most of my friends complimented our work and wished that they had been a part of the costume design team.

What I personally loved about the team was that I got to work with juniors and seniors. I also got to unleash my art and creativity which I loved. We got to showcase our hard work on the production night and waited in anticipation for a final success.  I realized that one needs to be skilled at art and be creative to enjoy costume design.

ON THE FINAL TWO NIGHTS, NO ONE COULD HAVE BEEN PROUDER THAN US TO SEE OUR COSTUMES COME ALIVE ON STAGE!

Asha Saravanan

7C