Melanie Myers, gives us an insight into the challenges of quick changes from a Dresser’s perspective.
I was recently asked to help backstage at my local theatre, Playhouse 2. Dressers were needed for the second half of a play. Doddle, I thought. Not quite. Fun, I thought. Definitely. The slick operation that occurs behind the scenes is never seen by the audience, but is run with precision and skill by stage management, or as I now call them, the air traffic controllers, always giving direction to keep things running smoothly. We dressers, along with help from the props ladies, had to organise costumes, assist with the quickest of clothing changes and dodge and weave around others in a three foot wide passage, mostly in the dark to get the wonderful actors onto the stage wearing the right attire. I quickly came to realise that we dressers though running (quietly) like headless chickens in the chaotic backstage environment were actually a calming influence for the actors, though if they'd seen us preparing for their entrances and exits, calm would not have been a word used to describe it. I met some wonderful people who give up so much of their free time to ensure these productions run like clockwork and without hitch. Would I do it again? Most definitely! In short, a very hectic but thoroughly enjoyable week. Playhouse 2, I'm available to dress, anytime.
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