Tag Archives: Costumes

Miss Piggy’s Dream Sequence(s): First in a series

Miss Piggy has a tradition of grand dream sequences. Perhaps because her life is a dream? Or because she lives in a dream world? Who cares, really? What’s important is that she has the most fascinating fantasy life. And I’d like to explore that a bit.

Let’s start this series with her first, and possibly most romantic fantasy sequence in film, from The Muppet Movie (1979).

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This is the elaborate dream sequence that is accompanied by her phenomenal love song: Never Before, Never Again, written by Paul Williams and Kenny Ascher. She has just won the Ms Bogen County Beauty Pageant and as she begins her acceptance speech, she happens to spy within the vast crowd the Frog of her Destiny – Kermit the…. Her eyes sparkle with adoration and she begins. Big intake of breath and…

Never before….. have two souls joined so freely and so fast…

She launches into the world of her fantasy where she and her Frog are placed in romantic locales and situations. They harken back to great love stories and show us that the Pig has a really vivid imagination. First off, they are running through a meadow towards each other. Piggy tosses aside her basket of wildflowers to run to Kermit. They wrap each other in a warm embrace and then continue travelling in the direction she was going. Kermit is only slightly perplexed at their momentum. The soft focus only adds to the dewy romanticism of their situation.

Next up, the Frog and Pig spend an afternoon on a pond. Rowboat, parasol and period clothing to match the mood. Kermit decides to remove his stand-up collar blue striped shirt, etc. to go for a dip when they pause near a secluded waterfall and Piggy, in her eyelet gown, watches. I gather she didn’t want to swim this time – she saves that for another dream sequence.

Next, Piggy and Kermit have a chance meeting in the fog under a lamppost. She is swathed in furs and he is in his classic trench coat. Simple and evocative. It’s about 14 seconds of film, but it says so much.

Finally, we see them running through another field. They are near a stream or lake. Piggy is complete in her “wench” attire with mop cap and stays, and Kermit is dashing in his poet shirt. They end their joyful romp by snuggling down under the shade of a tree with flowers for their bed. It is the epitome of romance.

The capper to this fantasy is another one of their many wedding sequences. Miss Piggy has had many gowns in her time – and is sure to have more, but this one is a statement in lovely delicacy. Drops of lace surround her pretty porcine face and the flowers are soft pink and white. Kermit looks splendid in his cravat and top hat as they are whisked away on her imagined honeymoon. The details of their getaway are splendid with rice tossed in the air, ribbons and cans and shoes tied to the car and the licence plate reading “I DO 2″.

This sequence really stands the test of time, even though the original impact of the humour may have softened over the years, (much like the soft focus of the filming), it still punctuates and describes their relationship and really sets the standard by which all dream sequences should be judged – whether they include Miss Piggy or some other starlet.

It also serves to give ideas for romantic locations and rendesvous. Go for a run in a meadow – it’s free and you will enjoy it, if the Frog and the Pig are any judge at all.

I don’t know if the message is that we are all supposed to have such a rich fantasy life, or if our fantasies should be as detailed as hers, or if the message is rather, stay focused on your goal and one day it will come to you. She’s still working on snaring that Frog! As we look at other dream sequences, we may discover overt and covert themes. One thing I do know, is the Pig demands an extensive and beautiful wardrobe. So, I’m asking designers out there, why aren’t there lines of clothing for the rest of us that match this quality?

Check it out for yourself at the link below, and imagine, like I do, how much fun it must have to been to write, create, film and edit that sequence?

 

 

First Preview Night

So… we’ve made it through tech weekend – pretty near flawlessly.

We survived our black out in the middle of dress rehearsal last night and now we are at First Audience. My theatre does something we call Community Preview where at our Final Dress Rehearsal we invite, for free, members of our community who would not otherwise attend the theatre. They come in groups, because they are all members of groups – special homes, they have care-givers or case workers, etc. They mostly know one another – and yet they all sit spread through the theatre. It’s fascinating. Our house seats over 350 and tonight I see about 100 folks spread throughout the house, but they are all talking to one another – some across the rows and some from the back to the front of the theatre. It should be a lively night.

Two years ago, at our Community Preview for The Three Musketeers (the first in my Ken Ludwig Trilogy), near the end Milady was about to poison Constance with a beverage she said would calm her nerves. Someone in the audience yelled out, “Don’t Drink It!” They are a fun crowd and anything can happen.

Tomorrow night is Preview and then Friday is Opening Night! Months and Months and Months of rehearsal and it will all be over in the blink of an eye…. But that’s part of why it’s so addictive. The payoff is, generally huge enough to balance the effort.

I know I’m going to enjoy the payoff of this piece.

Here’s to a successful run!

Break your legs!

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What happens on headset, stays on headset…

Lots of things happen during a tech. Lots of jokes, lots of surprises, lots of mistakes, many funny, some not…. in our tech there’s also lots of food! Thanks to a tradition started by a cast member from Three Musketeers…. but one of the really fun things is the use of head set. These are put in place so that the crew can communicate to one another from vast distances and make certain that everything runs smoothly during the show… but often… other things might get discussed on headset.

That one actor who likes to be the last to their place… they’ll get discussed.

That funny line that never gets said correctly during the show… that’ll get discussed.

Costumes, Hair, Backstage stories… all of that will get discussed on headset – that and much, much more. It’s sort of in line with the idea of “be there or be talked about!”

It is one of my favourite “secret” aspects of the show. If you ever get the chance to be on a headset for show – take it. You won’t regret it.

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What makes the best…? (Part 4)

Costume Designer??? Lots of passion for fashion – that’s for sure. But a passion for fashion isn’t enough. You may enjoy dressing yourself, but do you enjoy dressing others? In different time periods – perhaps real or imagined? Do you love thrift shopping? And sewing? Because all of these desires and skills are a must for a great Costume Designer.

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The best are creative and usually on ridiculously small budgets. Sure, Broadway and Stratford designers can buy the finest silks for their gowns, but for the regular theatre folk, scrounging,  repurposing and borrowing is essential to costume a show on a simple budget.

The passion for fashion will allow the great Costume Designers the opportunity to find and sew amazing outfits for men, women, children and sometimes creatures that you could barely imagine. They’ll make them in a variety of sizes to match a large chorus of dancing boys and girls and they’ll find designer gowns abandoned in Value Village and scurry them home to their personal storage for some future use – because they are certain that they’ll be able to use them in the future… for something.

They’ll deal with Diva actresses and actors who don’t want to wear what has been chosen for them. They’ll deal with directors who know exactly what they want and others who have no idea what people should wear in 1950, Victorian times or even today. They’ll deal with deadlines and schedule changes, missing actors and torn or soiled items and do it all with a smile. And when the show is over… they’ll take all the costumes home and clean them, fix them, sort them and store them lovingly away for the next time they are called into use.

Then… they’ll start again – on the next show!