Red Sequin Tailcoats - Costumes for Verona 3000

I mentioned in the last post that I'd been busy with a musical. It was a project a group of young people started in june 2012 when the ensemble was cast (I was chosen along with around 29 other people between 13 and 30) and ended with 19 performances of the musical "Verona 3000".

It's a dystopian, sci-fi, modern musical version of Romeo & Juliet, that tells not only the story of two young people in love, but of our Generation. (There were many different styles of music (Rap, Hip-Hop, Blues, typical Musical songs, Swing, Funk...) and original Lyrics, all in Swiss-German)

In our version, the government has set up "hypertasers" (towers in puplic places that tase people when it senses a readiness for violence) aimed largely at young people. This leads to youth riots and the government turns to Glove TV (who have a world wide monopoly on television and general media) to distract the teenagers. So they brainstorm and the famous pop-group "Mercutio" leads them to Romeo & Juliet.

I was part of the pop band "Mercutio". Photo by Thomas P. Krähenbühl

I was part of the pop band "Mercutio". Photo by Thomas P. Krähenbühl

They skim the beginning of the piece and decide to start a reality show that focuses on finding the world's best couple (under 25).

This is where the costumes come in: there was one scene where the reality show was announced on Globe TV, with song and dance of course! :) It was a burlesque swing song, with an old hollywood inspired dance routine that my friend Tiffany and I choreographed, and we thought it would be really cool to have flashy, over the top, red sequin tailcoats for the women, so I sewed some. Also: huge velvet heart hats!

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Photos by Thomas P. Krähenbühl (that's me walking down the stairs in the first, and in the middle of the second picture ^^)

Photos by Thomas P. Krähenbühl (that's me walking down the stairs in the first, and in the middle of the second picture ^^)

It was a stressful time so I didn't exactly enjoy sewing 5 of these sequin things, but they turned out great! The way they shimmered in the light was really cool, and it really fit the choreography. It was the only scene in the musical with identical costumes. I also made the men's ties, they have velcro on them. This is definitely the most important thing about stage costumes: they have to be easy to put on and remove! We all had about 4 minutes to change into these costumes (tights, leotard, tapshorts, heels, tailcoat and hat) and do our hair, one girl even had to do it in about 60 seconds! She had the tights, leotard and shorts on under her previous costume, so she could throw on the tailcoat, climb down two ladders and up a flight of stairs where we helped her get on her headdress.

The above photos are from rehearsals so not everyone has their heart hat on unfortunately. You can also see the costumes for a few seconds in the video below (at around 0:25):

I drafted the pattern from a bodice and skirt sloper, and made them all the same size because the fabric was stretchy, and we're all about the same size. The front closure is three golden elastics with big gold buttons on the end and loops of elastic on the other side.

I wanted to share these costumes and a bit about the musical, because it's been such a big part of my life for the past two years! It was a huge project, organized independently by young people. We all contributed ideas to the story, lyrics, music, costumes and set, and we rehearsed almost every sunday between 10 am and 5 pm for two years. I'm sad that it's over, but on the other hand I'll have time to really focus on my own projects now.

a picture taken during rehearsal - the stage was huuuge!! We built it in a really big gym we rented. The white netting could be used to project images onto it, but it could also be lit from the back to make "shadow pictures" and when light sources right behind the net where turned on, you could see actors standing right behind it, kind of like turning on a TV screen, it was really neat!

a picture taken during rehearsal - the stage was huuuge!! We built it in a really big gym we rented. The white netting could be used to project images onto it, but it could also be lit from the back to make "shadow pictures" and when light sources right behind the net where turned on, you could see actors standing right behind it, kind of like turning on a TV screen, it was really neat!