Southern Illinois University - Fall 2013
Director: Tim Fink; Scenic Design: Logan Reagan; Costume Design: Elise Kulovany; Lighting Design: Mark Varns Photos by: Robert Holcombe
Ragtime, a Quilt of Humanity
Ragtime documents the beginning of a century in America where life is full of new possibilities– a time when immigrants are pouring into “the promised land” and the culture and face of American society is changing daily. This musical grips at the heart and soul of the audience because of the messages it instills about hope, possibility, and change at a time when almost anything seems possible. It centers on the lives of one White Anglo Saxon family, the courtship of a high class African American man and his fiancee who dies in the pursuit of justice, and the struggle of a socialist immigrant who wants to make a life suitable for his daughter and himself. I chose to reflect the differences among or across these three groups of people to heighten the message presented in the script by utilizing color, texture, silhouette, and the intricacies of the detail in the costumes. Having both historical and fictional characters appear in different times from 1902-1912, Ragtime needed costumes which were reminiscent of this time period without pointing to a specific date. Each group needed to be unique while still being united to create the silhouette of the new America that came about after this explosive era. Ragtime is a story about America coming together, its ragged history; it is a quilt of stories and experiences that are uniquely American and stand the test of time.
To accommodate the large amount of character changes with minimal actors while also making costume changes feasible, I worked with the director to create these character breakdowns early in the process.
Once fittings have progressed, I create a visual for actors so they can see what to change into when. For a show as complex as this, information like this is vital to a successful dress rehearsal and run.
Once stock and other resources were fully sourced for available costumes, the remaining costumes needed to be constructed in house within budget. This list was a working list of what needed to be built with a line for budget and supplies.
An example of my running paperwork for the show so that I stayed within budget and also new when I had extra money, should the need arise for a last minute costume addition, the director changing his mind or another contingency.