Western Carolina University’s School of Stage and Screen has been working hard for several months in preparation for their next play, “The Drowsy Chaperone,” which is scheduled to open April 11 on the main stage of the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center. Tickets are on sale now at the box office of the Center. The show will be performed at 7:30 p.m. April 11- 13 and 3 p.m. April 14.
The cast and crew of “Drowsy” has spent many days and nights rehearsing on and off stage in order to deliver the best presentation of the show as possible.
While the actors are busy rehearsing their lines and choreography, the designers are hard at work putting together the stage and costumes.
“It starts with the script, then the research, then collaborations with the directors and actors, then I put it down on paper and we either build it or order it,” said Susan Brown-Strauss, resident costume designer at WCU and the designer in charge of all of the costumes for “Drowsy.”
Most of the costumes for “Drowsy” were made from scratch in the costume shop by costume shop manager Tony Sirk and costume shop assistants Clara Kelly, Lauren Smith and Charity Haskins, who also happens to be Janet, one of the main characters in “Drowsy”.
“Because I work here, I can make and try on, make and try on. It makes it easier,” said Haskins.
Creating the costumes is one of the longest processes in the making of a play. Costumes can be changed and redesigned up to the day of the play.
“It’s a constant back and forth between directors and designers and actors on what works best,” said Brown-Strauss.
While the costume designers are busy off stage, the cast of “Drowsy” has recently been on stage running through the play stop/start style.
Stop/start rehearsals are when the cast rehearses the scenes in sections, stopping to correct mistakes and change tiny details that will make the play run more smoothly.
“It starts with props and stage… then comes the lighting and orchestra and then is the final dress rehearsal with the costumes and everything right before the show,” said Claire Eye, co-director of “Drowsy”.
The week before the play opens the cast will spend a couple days rehearsing stop/start style. The final dress rehearsal will be the day before the show is performed in front of a live audience on the main stage.
“It’s fun to see it from stumble to the final show,” said Eye.
See and hear the sounds of the show from their last week rehearsal.