FEBRUARY 14-18, 2006









At the beginning of the planning phase of a production, designers often write statements that describe their concept of how their designs will integrate into the production. Here is a concept statement from Moon Over Buffalo costume designer Sue Williams:

Moon Over Buffalo is a style of comedy called "farce," and it is important that the costumes are appropriate for that type of play.   The costumes are colorful, fun, and allow the movement that the actors need to perform a comedy full of slapstick action.

This is a play about a theatre company that is performing two other plays.   That makes it an interesting challenge for costumes because it is like costuming three plays in one.   The play itself takes place in 1953, but the theatre company in the play is performing Cyrano de Bergerac , that takes place in the 1640's, and Private Lives , that takes place in the 1920's.   There are costumes from all three of these periods in the production.

The looks of these three costume periods are all very different, but color is also used to differentiate between them.   The Cyrano de Bergerac costumes are deep, rich, jewel-tone colors, the 1950's costumes are bright, primary colors, and the Private Lives costumes are light, muted colors.

The Costume Studio of the Theatre and Dance Department is building the women's dresses from the 1950's and the 1920's.   The other costumes for the show are being "pulled" - taken from the Theatre Department's stock - and purchased.  



Designers must do research into period styles of architecture, interior design, and clothing when planning their designs. Although the story of Moon Over Buffalo is fictional, the play is set in a real theatre, named the Erlanger, that still stands in Buffalo, NY. The director and scenic designer wanted the set for this production to approximate the look of the real theatre, so the scenic designer researched its layout and architecture using various sources, including the ERLANGER THEATRE WEBSITE.


Theatrical designers create sketches to illustrate their plans for their designs. This helps directors and other members of design teams visualize what the final product will look like.

The images below are sketches created by Moon Over Buffalo costume designer Sue Williams. Note that the sketches have "swatches" attached, which are sample pieces of the fabrics from which the costumes are being made. Costume designers select fabrics for the costumes and pass on the fabric and the sketches to costume technicians so that they can create patterns and construct the costumes. Not all costume pieces are constructed: some are pulled from the department's existing stock, some are purchased, and, occasionally, some are rented from other theatres or businesses that specialize in renting theatrical costumes.