Tuesday, February 4, 2020

The Bully of Baker Street: Costume Design

Design by Zack Hickle
One month ago, a week prior to the first rehearsal of Sherlock Holmes Meets the Bully of Baker Street, I wrote a post about revision. One of the major, last-minute changes to the script involved changing Miss Barnaby from a glowering headmistress, someone along the line of Mathilda’s Miss Trunchbull, into the young Miss Barnaby, left the run the orphanage while the headmaster is off “on holiday.”

Still aggressive and domineering, making the main “bully” of the tale a peer of the protagonist Vicky (hopefully) makes the conflict more accessible to young audiences. But, it also meant that our costume designer, Zack Hickle, needed to come up with a quick fix.

As you can see from his original rendering (right) Miss Barnaby looks quite severe in her red work smock, and her big poofy shoulders. But it wouldn’t exactly be appropriate for a “head girl,” an underling who has been put in charge of her peers.

So Zack removed the sleeves and skirting from her jacket, still providing Miss Barnaby with a smart, blood red vest, and Khaki, the actress, has been provided with a fine red wig instead of a gray one. Her exposed, white shirtsleeves still feature the big shoulders of the original design.

Nick Chokan, Annie
& Khaki Hermann
Pictured right, Miss Barnaby menaces little Annie. Zack also designed the dress and built the puppet (voiced and operated by Nick Chokan.)

This is why I do theater. The collaborative process, the give and take. The openness of one artist to accommodate a suggested change in direction from another artist. I reimagined a character based on suggestion, a designer reimagined a design to accommodate that.

Today we open, this morning for a crowd of fifth graders in Elyria, this evening for a public audience comprised, I imagine, largely of adults. There is a lot of audience interaction in this one, and I am very excited to see how the actors work with the audience!

You should join us.

To be continued.

Great Lakes Theater presents the “Classics On Tour” production of “Sherlock Holmes Meets the Bully of Baker Street” opening tonight, Tuesday, February 4, 2020 at 7:00 PM at Talespinner Children’s Theatre, 5209 Detroit Avenue in Cleveland.

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