Costumes, Costumes and More Costumes

By Gabe Garcia

While most people only see the final product of a play, many don’t realize the amount of work it takes to get the final product. Reading lines, designing lighting, applying makeup and creating a wardrobe.

The costume shop is located on the first floor of Bliss Hall, right next to the box office at Spotlight Theater. It was produced sometime in the late 90s and is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

With each costume that needs created comes a different challenge. For example, something small such as a hat or a skirt can be completed in a mere few hours, while an entire dress can take a few days or more to finish.

With the play “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” it wasn’t as bustling to complete a certain amount of costumes, because the costume shop only needed to make three of them, while the rest were bought at stores in the Youngstown area.

“The designer spent more time preparing for this show with developing costume renderings and shopping for the garments,” Rebel Mickelson, Youngstown State University’s costume shop supervisor, said. “Although we had about a four week build period, the only costumes made in the shop were for Snow White, Grumpy/Doc and Dopey.”

There are many different costumes being kept inside the shop. It is organized based on time period, sizes, colors, gender and headwear.

“My basic job description is to run the daily activities in the YSU costume shop,” Mickelson said. “Although this seems like a simple thing, it’s actually more complicated than that.”

Mickelson’s job requires a lot of attention to detail, whether it’s cutting, draping, sewing, fitting or alterations of the costumes for the actors in each production. It’s her job to ensure that every part of the costume meets the criteria for tech week, which is the week leading up to opening night.

“During tech week, I am responsible for training wardrobe crews for the show, including quick changes, laundry, repairs and making sure all costumes are accounted for,” Mickelson said. “Daily, I mentor the students that have hours in the shop. I also maintain the shop and show budgets, supplies needed for the shop and the upkeep of all the machines.”

Of course, there are plenty of students that work in the costume shop as part of their major, but there are also students who are involved in the work study program through the costume shop.

“What I love about working in the costume shop is that I’m getting to learn new things,” Chantele Vera, theater major and junior at YSU, said. “I’m here on work study, so I’m building experiences, and with each one, I get to work behind the scenes, and I love doing it!”