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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

"If you mindlessly practice bad habits, you become very good at a) being mindless and b) your bad habits."
--lizgibbons

Thursday, November 13, 2014

5000 pieces

I was only half listening to the speaker in Sacrament meeting. I was thinking about the Visiting Teaching message I would be giving later about Jesus feeding the five thousand. The speaker said something about the scripture 2 Nephi 32:9 "Pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that He will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that they performance may be for the welfare of thy soul." and that got me off on a tangent.

First I was thinking how great it is that we can ask that he consecrate our performance. Consecrate is a powerful word that means to dedicate to a divine purpose. The sacrament bread and water are consecrated. Oil is consecrated for the sick and afflicted. I never thought that we could ask that our performances--the things we do or work on--could be consecrated also. And usually something is consecrated to God or others but this specifically says "for the welfare of thy soul."

We can ask, we should ask, that what we are working on be divinely dedicated to our personal welfare. That it will help us to become a better person, stronger person, more Christlike person.

So while I was thinking about Christ and bread and welfare of souls I thought of Jesus feeding the 5000. When he took the small loaves and the few fishes he gathered them in and looked to heaven and blessed them. When I think of Jesus blessing anything, that is consecrating, right? The Most Powerful praying = divine dedication? right. So, that made me think of myself as one of those little loaves of bread.

When I am feeling like nothing I can do is going to be good enough, and feeling like I have way too many to feed, when there are 5000 things swirling and whirling around me hungry for my attention, when I feel like I will surely be devoured and destroyed, I can pray and put myself in His hands. I can ask Him for help, to "consecrate my performance to the welfare of my soul".  He knows how to break me so I can feed all and have baskets left to spare. He knows what I need and He can and will bless me if I ask.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Behind the Scenes: One Tattered Angel

One Tattered Angel World Premiere. November 6-9, 2014. Written by Blaine Yorgason. Adapted for the stage by Craig Ferre. Cast from left to right: Kevin Brady, Kevin Holley, Zackary Cusworth, Jessica Hunter, Colin Carlson, Libby Templeton, Kimberly Kitto, Cameron Abaroa, Aliyah Qureshi, Keola Holt, Dannia Tan, Michaela Bayona, Adam Call, Hidden Canite, Lizzy Saylor, Chris Cornelison, Ingrid Veliz, LeGrand Lawrence.
Cast Pictures in no particular order

Actor Hidden Canite played two parts. He was the TEMPLE SEALER  and he was a CHAPEL GUEST. This is his temple sealer costume. Brother Ferre wanted him in the wheelchair and in the grey wig to make him look older. This tan suit was the only suit we had in our wardrobe that fit him well so that's why he was in this. The 70's looking tie kinda dates him to being older than the 1980's (hopefully). For the chapel scene he removed the jacket and wig and switched to a red tie.

Actor Kevin Holley played the part of STEVE YORGASON and a CAROLER.  He brought his own slacks, shoes and belt from home and wore an 80's looking shirt. For his other costume he added a Christmas sweater, scarf and Santa hat, all of which were found in the costume wardrobe.

Actor Kevin Brady played the part of  NATE YORGASON and a CAROLER. Kevin brought his own slacks, belt and shoes and wore a shirt and tie from the costume wardrobe. His second costume was a Christmas sweater, scarf and santa hat from the costume wardrobe.




Actress Libby Templeton played the part of TAMI YORGASON. She originally had three costumes but because of complications with scene changes we reduced it to two. I think this turned out better anyways because it helped the audience keep track of her easier. Both of these outfits were pulled from the costume wardrobe, even the high waisted button-fly jeans!
From left to right we have actors Cameron Aberoa playing BLAINE YORGASON, Kimberly Kitto playing KATHY YORGASON, Lizzy Saylor playing BRENDA GALLAGHER (she was also a nurse), and Chris Cornelison playing KEN GALLAHER (he also played a doctor). Blaine and Kathy's costumes were very complicated because they were in all but a few scenes, more on that later. Brenda wore some great high waisted loose fit jeans and a floral crop blouse with shoulder pads worn with some slip on shoes. Chris wore some high waisted jeans and an oxford. His jeans may have been women's jeans. These were all found in the costume wardrobes.


Actor LeGrand Lawrence played the part of FRED. Fred is a dishwasher at the hospital so we went with the basic food service look of black pants, white shirt and comfortable shoes. He brought these items from home. Mandy Veech from the costume crew made him the blue dishwasher's apron. She used materials from the costume department's fabric storage.

Actress Ingrid Veliz played the part of CAROL and she was also a CAROLER and a CHAPEL GUEST. Ingrid is also the assistant to the costumer. Ingrid found this denim skirt and sweater set in the costume wardrobes also.  The skirt was shortened and turned around backwards so that the kickpleats were visible, to add interest. She added a blue bow to her big 80's hairstyle.  She wore this costume as a chapel guest also but changed to be a caroler. She wore a Christmas sweater, some baggy jeans, a scarf and a santa hat.

Actress Michaela Bayona played the part of MARY ANN and was also a CHAPEL GUEST. This costume was a simple jumper worn with a sweater and some keds and poofy socks. Her second costume was a red jumper with the same sweater and shoes. These costumes were all pulled from the costume wardrobe.

Actress Keola Holt played the part of MARGIE. Margie is a friend who is a nurse so she had two costumes. This first one was  a traditional nurses dress with hat, white nylons and white tennis shoes. We had several dresses in the costume wardrobe but none that fit her. Costume crew-member Eseta Clanton successfully harvested some material from a second dress to make this one fit correctly. It looks great and you can't even tell. Great job Eseta! The nurses hats were cut from cardstock. Assistant Ingrid Veliz found the pattern online and crew-member Nhil Banda took the pattern down to the print shop to get it sized and printed. Keola's second costume was a denim shirt with floral accent, peach blouse, denim skirt and keds, also found in the costume wardrobes. Also pictured are actresses Lizzy Saylor (left) and Kimberly Kitto (right) mentioned in previous photos.

This is another picture of Keola and Kimberly and is the first time we see BABY CHARITY and actress Jessica Hunter playing MICHELLE YORGASON. Kimberly is wearing an apron custom made for the show by costume crew-member Eseta Clanton. We wanted an apron that looked very frilly and 80's and that had a lot of coverage so that it almost looked like a different dress. The materials for the apron were all from the costume shop fabric storage. Jessica was styled primarily by crew-member Taimi Kennerly. This is only one of her four outfits. Because she was young she got the trendiest clothes in the play and again, they were all from the costume wardrobe. These pink keds, loose fit, pegged leg jeans, shirt with shoulder pads and vest was the most conservative of her outfits. She also wore a bold aqua and white striped drop waist mini dress with black and white polka dot legging shorts. Another scene she had the same shorts with an oversized white sweater and a big bow. She also wore a white long-sleeved t-shirt with some overalls and a big bow. We purchased jelly bracelets for her to wear. This was the first item we purchased for the play.

Actor Colin Carlson played DAN YORGASON, and actor Zackery Cusworth played TRAVIS YORGASON. The Yorgason family was a conservative Utah family so we played it pretty safe with everyone. Most of our 80's looks were very subtle. Dan had several costume changes. He always wore jeans and he alternated between rugby shirts, polos and button downs. Travis had to wear pajamas and slacks and jeans and he also alternated between button downs and rugby's and this vest. These costumes were all found in the costume wardrobe.



Actress Aliyah Qureshi played the part of SHARON the social worker. She had three costume changes. All of them were power business attire with great shoulder pads, pearls, white nylons and pearls.

Pictured here with Cameron (right) is actor Adam Call. He played the part of MAX and he was also a CHAPEL GUEST and SANTA CLAUS. In this photo he is wearing his chapel guest costume even though it is supposed to be the moving scene. We were taking photos out of order. He brought the shirt, shoes and belt from home and we found him the pleated slacks and tie from the costume wardrobe. For the scene as max he wore a different pair of pleated slacks, a braided belt and a pastel striped, short sleeve button down that was so totally 80's. I wish I had a picture of that! We borrowed the santa suit from the University Communications officer who plays Santa every year for the University Christmas Tree lighting. Adam is a skinny kid so we added a fat suit under the santa suit. He still looked pretty skinny.

The medical staff played by actors Keola Holt, Lizzy Saylor, Chris Cornelison, and Dannia Tan. I've already introduced you the the first three previously and don't feel I need to say anything more about them with the exception of Chris' lab coat. We borrowed the lab coats for both Chris and Dannia from the Chemistry department and Brother Ferre borrowed the stethoscopes from BioChem. Thank you costume crew-member Christina Smith for your "in" with the Chemistry department. Actress Dania Tan played the part of "DR WALKER". Dannia is very short so we put her in heels and found her a pair of slacks that we altered to fit her long--trying to make her look taller. She wore the lab coat with a pink blouse under it. She rolled the pink blouse and the lab coat sleeves up so the pink showed and the color of the shirt she prepped up. It had a big chin bow on it too so that was, of course, fluffed to be bigger. Dannia had a lot of fun with her loud (but classy) 80's eye shadow, earrings and poofy bangs.

Here's another picture of Dannia and also a shot of our two main actors. More on them in a minute.

I caught a picture of Brother Ferre! This is rare. I'm just throwing it in for fun. No costume notes on this picture.

Kimberly Kitto and Cameron Abaroa. They played KATHY YORGASON and BLAINE YORGASON. Their costumes were very complicated simply because they had so many quick changes. They were in practically every scene and the play follows them through over 8 years of their life. We had to figure out how to get the audience to realize that time was passing without changing complete outfits. There were also a LOT of scene changes. Blaine basically wore his black pants and a tan t-shirt and this cream polo the whole time. He would then layer different items over or take items off right down to the tan tee. He had pajama pants that he would pull over his slacks, he had a robe that he would pull on over his tee. He also had a blazer, a red cardigan a red shirt, a plaid shirt, and a winter jacket all layered at various times throughout the play. Kimberly too layered up. Cameron was the only person we ended up buying costumes for. The items purchased for him were a tan tee-shirt, a plaid pajama set, a long robe and a cream polo shirt. She had a nightgown, a dress, 2 robes, another dress, 3 cardigans (2 were the same but on opposite sides of the stage) and this last dress. If you really want to see how it all fit together check out the costume dressers' directions in this document. It is what we posted in the wings to guide our dressers through the changes every night.

One Tattered Angel Wrap Up

What do you do as the costume designer? How much time did you spend? Where did you find everything? How much did it cost?

These are questions I get every time I do a show and you, my students, will probably get them too. Here are your answers.

What do you do as the costume designer?
This is long and boring. Feel free to read the underlined answer and skip down to the next question if you really don't want all the details. This answer is generally the same every time, every production. As the costume designer I:
  1. Read the script. I usually read it about 4 times. I read it once for the story line. I read it once to understand individual characters. I read it once to look for details like time changes, seasons, specific stage directions or reference to clothing that will affect costumes. And then I read again to make sure I didn't miss anything. I also make my costume-crew (students) read it and have them double check to make sure I haven't missed anything (I always miss something). And then I always keep it on hand to refresh my memory of bits and pieces as I go along.
  2. I research the show. I read the book, watch the movie, find the play on YouTube. I look for reviews online of people that have watched productions and people who have worked on them.
  3. Meet with the director and discuss the artistic look he desires and the mood he wants to portray. We also talk about each character and his vision of them. If the actors are going to have special movement requirements like dance or climbing or rolling on the floor that is something else I like to know really early.
  4. I do more research, this time on the people, places and times. I try not to do too much of this before meeting with the director because often the director likes to switch things up. He'll change the time period or the setting or perhaps make a male part a female part or whatever. This is where I start collecting inspiration images and start sketching out what I want the characters to look like.
  5. I design the costumes. Sometimes I come up with all the designs and tell my students what we are doing and sometimes I let them in on the process. It depends on the students and the production. Either way the buck stops at me and I ultimately make the final decision on what goes on the stage.
  6. I source the materials. I shop for fabric, articles of clothing, trims, shoes, accesorries, whatever is needed to make the costume I find it. I shop online, at Savers, Walmart, Target, Fabric Mart, Goodwill, wherever I've got to go to find what I need. Before purchasing anything however, I always make my students dig through our costume wardrobe and fabric and supply closet to see if we've got it first. I have recently made arrangements with the BYUH Give and Take to borrow items without payment (service hours) as long as we return items when finished.
  7. I oversee the work of the students. Teach them skills they need to know, make sure everything is on track and that quality is satisfactory. The students style or produce the costumes, clean them if necessary and prep them for the stage.
  8. I finish up whatever the students cannot. Sometimes that means I spend a lot of time sewing and sometimes I find volunteers who can pick up the slack as well. I try hard to not make the costumes more sophisticated than the students can complete but it can't always be avoided.
  9. Paperwork. I map out a costume plot. I keep track of what character is wearing what and when. I make directions for actors and for dressers. I keep track of receipts and budgets and I send a lot of emails to the director, actors, costume crew, and my assistant.

How much time did you spend?
The long answer: I had a big costume crew and they did a great job helping out so that dramatically cut down on the amount of time I spent on One Tattered Angel. I spent about 20 hours reading and researching the script and talking to the director. We didn't have a lot we needed to buy for this play but I did have to go into town twice to get it. I spent 5 hours sourcing materials. I spent 64 hours in class working with my students and overseeing their work. I spent 5 hours doing various paperwork and email communications. I spent NO time finishing up unfinished student work--they were great!. And lastly I spent 30 hours at dress rehearsals and show nights. That comes to a grand total of 124 hours spent on One Tattered Angel.

My students each had 4 hours of class plus 2 hours of lab every week. We've been working on the show for 7.5 weeks but we did take one week off to work on the Laie Elementary play. They also attended one dress rehearsal and one show night at 5 hours each. (6x6.5)+(5x2)=49 hours each. I had 5 students. 49x5=245. At least two of those students put in a lot of extra hours. I know they put in at least an additional 10 hours each for a total of 20 more hours. Add that all up and my students put in 255 hours of work.

That's not all! My student assistant works 19 hours a week. She manages the labs and fittings and does a lot of the nitty gritty that keeps the show going. She put 5 weeks into the show for a total of 95 hours.

The short answer: Put that all together and we've got 474 man hours into the costumes for One Tattered Angel.

Where did you find everything?
We always check what we have on hand first. We have a large room in the attic of the auditorium that is smushed full of years of costumes and we have a storage room full of fabric, trims and patterns. If we can't use, alter or make what we need from what we've already got we ask actors to bring things from home. We also look at Give and Take, advertise our needs on Facebook, shop online, and shop in town when necessary.

How much did it cost?
We got really lucky with this show and found most of what we needed right here on campus for free. We bought:
jelly bracelets $4
tee-shirt  $6
pajama set $20
robe  $15
polo shirt $8
Just over $50! We really got away cheap this time! 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Laie Elementary Fall Break Play 2014: Night at the PCC

I finally, FINALLY am getting around to posting the pictures of the elementary school fall break play Night at the PCC. THEA 141 students made a great contribution to this play, designing costumes, making patterns for some of the costumes and constructing others. Great job team! My students put in about 30 hours of work between the 5 of them. I put in about 12 hours of prep and planning and then 10 more hours during play week. I had numerous parents put in hours there at the school and a few who took projects home to work on. I am so grateful for all their help. They really made things special. We ended up spending $107 to costume 115 kids. Enjoy the pics!


Tiki warriors

Rapanui heads. Cardboard helmets designed by Christina Smith and Mandy Veech.

Food dancing to "Be Our Guest". Pineapple, Banana, roasted pig, poi, and coconut drink. Inspiration for these costumes found by Taimi Kennerly, Eseta Clanton, Christina Smith, Nhil Banda, and Mandy Veech.


Oyster Shells dancing and singing to "Pearly Shells".

Security Guards dancing to "Happy"

Koi fish. hat inspiration from THEA 141 class.
Bobblehead hula girls dancing to Price Tag.






Monday, November 10, 2014

1000 Things I Love (141-160)

141. Opening night of the plays
142. Dressing up for show nights
143. Eavesdropping on people who are saying awesome things about the costumes.
144. Students who love my class
145. Thank you notes from Brother Ferre
146. That Bro. Ferre always gives me and each member of my class a thank you box of chocolates after the shows
147. When past students contact me for advice.
148. Getting totally absorbed in a project
149. Students who help clean up
150. Actors who are grateful and kind
151. Pizza Parties and Haagen Daz
152. My kids operate on auto pilot when I'm at work
153. Friends who help me with projects
154. Honesty
155. Finding crazy pictures on my phone that my students snuck on there. How'd they get my phone?!
156. Vanilla Yogurt and Granola
157. Free Turkeys with Maikai certificates
158. Love notes written with dry erase on my bedroom mirror
159. Letting go of things that don't really matter
160. Cool Breezes

Sunday, November 09, 2014

The Importance of Being Specific

I believe in the power of prayer.  I feel close to God when I pray and have had prayers answered through scripture study, thoughts and comfort, and the actions of others. I have always believed prayers can be answered.

"Can" is an important word in that last sentence. I have never believed that every prayer is answered (and when I say that I can suddenly hear the Garth Brooks song Unanswered Prayers in my head). I've also always been reticent about asking for too much or being too specific. I don't want to bother the Big Guy unless I've really got to, and don't want to be telling Him what He should be doing! Is this a pretty normal outlook?

However, when I was doing my marathon listen-through of the Book of Mormon the last two weeks of October my perspective was tweaked a bit. There were quite a few things that I understood in a different way in that fast paced format.

One of the things that I heard was "Ask". Again and again, "ask". "ask it", "ask with a firmness", "ask with a sincere heart", "ask the Father", "ask and it shall be given", "ask bread . . .ask fish", "asking for whatsoever thing".

After hearing "ask" so many times--really hearing it--I understood this next scripture in a more real way than I ever had before. 3 Nephi 27, Jesus was departing from the Nephites and counseled them:
 "And now I go unto the Father. And verily I say unto you, whatsoever things ye shall ask the Father in my name shall be given unto you. Therefore, ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for he that asketh, receiveth; and unto him that knocketh, it shall be opened."
Whatsoever! Whatsoever! He said "whatsoever things ye shall ask"! Whatsoever is anything. Anything at all. Did you not understand something Jesus taught? Ask.  Did you forget something He said? Ask. Did you not follow His directions exactly and got a little screwed up and need help getting out of it? Ask.

But lets not stop there. He said "whatsoever" and though it was following His sermon he didn't say whatsoever you need help with as pertains to this sermon. He did not put limitations on His statement. He said "whatsoever", so ask away! "Ask, and ye shall receive". An awesome promise that I decided to put to the test. I decided I was going to ask for more and guess what? I've been getting it!

Here's an example:

The week before my birthday it rained a lot, like more than it has in the previous 2 weeks combined. I had a whole list of women who were going to go on my birthday hike with me and one by one, as the day got closer and the rains continued to fall, they bailed. I told everyone that I was still planning to go. The report for the day was good and as long as I had one brave companion I would hike to the Summit for my birthday.

Unfortunately I didn't start praying for the rain to stop until Friday, the day before my birthday. It had slowed but was still on and off all day and I was getting worried. I only had two people who were still on my list of hikers and they were concerned. I fervently prayed Friday night that the rains would stop before my hike and that it would be a beautiful day for hiking. I packed up my gear, set out my clothes and went to bed early so I could get to the meeting spot at the appointed hour: 5am.

At 4am I was awakened by a tumultuous rainstorm. I went back to sleep. At 4:45 I woke up in faith and got myself ready. I walked over to the rendezvous point and was amazed at the starry clear skies and that the puddles were nearly all gone from just an hour earlier. My prayer had been answered!

Except there was no one at the rendezvous point. I checked my phone and there were messages from the last two. I was alone, under a starry morning sky and instead of feeling let down and betrayed by my friends or by God I felt my heart swell big and full of gratitude that my prayer had been answered. He heard me and gave me exactly what I had asked for on my birthday: the rains had stopped before my hike.

Since she hadn't gotten a text back Michelle was worried I may attempt it alone and sauntered up smiling a few minutes later. She was worried about muddy slippery slopes and said she was there to "talk me down" if necessary. And also to be the first person to wish me a Happy Birthday. She is the  best kind of friend.

We chatted briefly, made plans to surf later, and set off to our homes and beckoning beds. I was surprisingly calm and happy though I had just missed out on completing yet another of my Big 40 goals. I looked up at the gently swaying palms and the dark starry sky and felt a whisper reminding me of a text I had sent to Dave just a few days earlier.  He had asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I had answered, "I want sleep. I want time. I want to surf."

As I climbed back into bed I thanked God for answering my prayers both spoken and texted and we had a good chuckle, God and I, about the importance of being specific. Next time I would pray for no rain and a willing companion.

_____________________________
One last note: It was a beautiful day. I spent my 40th birthday sleeping in late, hanging out with the kids with nothing to do, sewing a little project I'd been trying to get to, and surfing with family and friends. For dinner we went to a great Japanese Restaurant in Kaneohe that I can't remember the name of. And it wasn't that expensive!

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