… thoughts on theatre, life, and stuff

Archive for September, 2011

Knight Costume

Sir Ted of the Round Table

We need a Knight costume for Rush Hour, so here’s what I came up with.  It’s a simple brown cotton tunic and a tabard.  I cut the tabard trim out of brown fleece. That’s also what I used to cut out a graphic for the tabard (which I top stitched on).  I chose to use a sword for the tabard emblem … very Biblical y’know. Sword of truth.

Thanks to my awesome husband for modeling this for me after a long day at the office.  He’s such a good sport.  He would NOT however, agree to model the matching renaissance princess outfit.  Something about … posting that on the web ….  mumble… not wearing a dress… grumble… <snicker>


Evel Knievel Costume

My inspiration

Rock on, E.K.

This week, we needed 2 Evel Knievel costumes.  Lets just say there were tricycles and a huge styrofoam ramp involved. I didn’t have a ton of advance notice (about 2 days) and I needed to make two sets, so I Googled, I simplified, I sewed, I puffy-painted, and then I spent the rest of my time whipping around the lobby of the Fredrick RMCC Campus on a child’s tricycle (thanks to our facilities manager at the Fredrick campus, Lloyd,  for raising the handle bars for me!)

By the way, lets just get this out there… I’m an admitted Evil Knievel fan.  We used to watch his stunts live on TV and it was a BIG EVENT around my house when I was a kid.  His talent was combining athleticism, fearlessness and showmanship … just like me riding my trike around the church in full E.K. regalia.  (BwaHA!!!  Just kidding, just kidding, don’t write any “V, that’s inappropriate” comments.)

The simplified costume emphasizes the bell-bottom pants, the red/white/blue trim on the shirt, and the cape.

Anyway, to make the suits, I sewed some oversized white suits (I didn’t use a pattern, which is probably all too obvious!).  I based the outfits on some oversized hoodie/sweats outfits I made a while back.  I went for a larger size so they would fit other (men) actors if needed in the future, so they could be worn over normal clothing, and so we could move around in them easily for our incredible stunts!  BEFORE I sewed all the pieces together, I attached trim, made the bell-bottom pants inserts, etc.

I attached (machine stitched) the cape to the shirt.

For fabric, I picked up some $4.99/yard white woven cotton/poly blend – it’s designed for lining curtains, but was the only white I could find at the local hobby store that wasn’t too thin but was within my budget.  For two suits, I bought 8 yards.  For the 2 capes and trim, I bought 2 yards of red and 1 1/4 yards of blue.  A large bottle of white fabric paint was more than enough for the stars.

Classic E.K., bell-bottoms and stars.

It took several hours for the white fabric paint to dry… then it was off to take a nap to try to fight off this miserable cold I’ve come down with.  I’m just sorry I got sick and missed the opportunity to see my friend Donna riding a trike around the Niwot campus, because she’s comic-hosting there this weekend.  Look out Rush Hour, V’evil and D’evil Knievel are IN THE HOUSE!!!

hugs, V-

9-11 Personal Reflections

Today is September 11, 2011.  On September 11, 2001 I woke to my news radio alarm, switched on live TV, and watched the second plane hit, the second tower fall, then the first.  By the end of the morning, my heart was rubble. All those families.  All that loss and destruction.  The “It could never happen here” bubble had burst and what was left was dust. debris. DNA.

When a nation grieves together, it changes us. But there is one thing that hasn’t changed.  Because in all that chaos, God was  protecting some, infusing others with unshakable courage, drawing others to himself.  Letting others go.

This morning, I woke to my news radio alarm, but instead of the sounds of disbelief, speculation and fear, I’m listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing God Bless America and Ray Charles sing “America the Beautiful” played as a tribute to the lives lost.

This morning, I’m thinking about New York City.  About Broadway, and Chinatown, and Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and the irrepressible energy that is Manhattan.  So, seeking some inspiration FROM New York during a day that is so much ABOUT New York, I decided to focus my attention on this poem of hope and welcome.

New Colossus (The poem in the base of the Statue of Liberty)

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”    – Emma Lazarus

The revenge of V’einstein [a.k.a. “Ya! Helga!”]

Oops. <snicker>

I play a Comic Host in Rush Hour, the RMCC family worship experience, but I also work for the Creative Arts Director doing various RH tasks like editing scripts, making props and costumes as needed, stuff like that.

Soooo, I recently revamped a script for Rush Hour and well… first maybe I should explain the way I write…  I let my mind imagine a scene playing out.  I WATCH the scene in my head and just write down what I see and hear.

When I recently edited in an Einstein-type character, the voice I imagined in my head had an exaggerated German accent. Here’s what the actor actually needed to say…

COMIC HOST:  We ask that the Bible Bowlers* let everyone else catch up. Don’t blurt out answers to the questions OK?  That wouldn’t be fair to the rest of the people who are not yet Bible experts.

THIS, however, is the way I transcribed the scene in the script:

COMIC HOST: (German accent) Unt NOW! Vee gunna ask dat ze Bible Bowlahs let ze rrrest of de beoples catchen-zee up vis you, unt you don’t anzer ze qvetions too early. Dat vill not be fay-ah for ze rrrrest of ze beoples who are not expertz YET in ze Bibluuuuhl, Yah!

NOTE TO SELF:  If you don’t want the OTHER Comic Host at our sister campus (who uses this same script) to push you in the dirt… next time, just use plain English… he can add the accent.

 errr, I mean, I’m sorry Brian. That must have been nearly impossible to read. Seriously, Dude.   Please forgive me.    hugs, V-

PS.  Dear Co-Host Dawn, I’m sorry that onstage I kept calling you “Helga” all morning.  OK.   No.  I’m not.  not.  really.  sorry.  Because it was funny and it’s even funnier knowing your enitre family will be calling you Helga for weeks and weeks now and in fact you may never live this one down and every time I think about it I start laughing again and… …I’m not worried about you pushing me in the dirt because I’m not sure you could catch me and there I’ve said it out loud now well sort of because I’m not really talking I’m typing but just the same whatever and I’m pretty sure there’s nothing you can do about it now anyway because it’s water under the bridge and you have to be nice to me because we’re Christians and I’m pretty sure God will strike you with lightening if you seek revenge and that’s pretty much all I have to say about that. Mwahahahahaha!!! er… I mean… hugs,  v-

*We have a youth team that competes nationally with their Bible skills and knowledge.  These guys are nationally ranked and have some SERIOUS skills when it comes to the Bible.  Check ’em out here.

Court Jester’s Hat

The Jester's Hat

An upcoming RUSH HOUR script calls for one of the characters to wear a Jester’s hat.  So I came up with this.

I found some great fabric earlier this summer at … where else? WALLY WORLD!  I think I picked up about a yard each of four different designs.  I used a needle and thread, fabric, hot glue, glue gun, shredded paper, poster board, pom poms, my iron and sewing machine.

Here’s the how-to…

These are the basic fabric pieces needed for the "horns." Cut 4 from one fabric, and 4 from a contrasting fabric.

With right sides together, and LEAVING THE BOTTOM OPEN, I sewed the horns. I clipped the curves so they would look nice when I turned them right-side-out.

I stuffed the horns with shredded paper. I don't ever expect to need to wash this hat, if I did, I would have to use cotton batting, or poly-fill as a stuffing. Shredded paper is cheaper. 🙂

Sewed two contrasting "horns" together into two pair of horns.

And the two ...

... shall become as one.

Traditionally, there would be bells on the points of the horns, but as an actor, I CANNOT STAND a costume that makes noise I cannot directly control 100% of the time, so I went with hot-gluing some pom-poms on instead.

I added more pom-poms to add silly-ness and to cover the hand-stiched seams.

I cut out fabric to make a hood. Notice a hood pattern that will have long flaps to tie under the neck or behind the head is shaped like half a heart shape.

right sides together, stitch the hood across the crown of the head, leaving about an inch at the "forehead" and a good long open bit at the back of the head. That will 1) make the hood easier to hem, and 2) create "flaps" that can be tied under the chin like a scarf or around the back of the head like a "dew rag" to hold it steady.

Hem the hood. I like to iron in a hem and then zig-zag stich it. These will be used infrequently and don't have to stand up to much abuse, so I can cut corners on the sewing and save buckets of time.

All along, I kept trying things on, removing stitching, adjusting the angles and fit, etc.

Stitch the horns to the hood at the points indicated. I hot glued the center of the horns to the hood, so there was no need to stitch around the entire crown of the head. Just securing it firmly with stitching in four places was enough.

So far so good. Still need to add the crown. Here it is tied like a scarf below the chin.

And here's the same thing tied at the back of the head like a 'dew rag." It's still looking a little Carmen Miranda, though, gotta add the crown.

I covered some posterboard with cloth (remember, this will never be laundered, or I would have had to use very heavy interfacing instead. I attached this to the piece (it can be sewn) and voila!


Fun project.  The more outlandish the fabric the better I think.  I have to go now, you should SEE the mess in my kitchen!  And it’s time to “rinse and repeat” because I need another one because our church has two campuses.

Schpeaking Dirrrrrectly to God Machine Thingy-Dingy

 Whoah!  I just realized I didn’t ever publish this entry.  Well, here ‘tiz then!
The “Prayer Machine”  a.k.a. the “Schpeaking Dirrrrrectly to God Machine Thingy-Dingy”

The Prayer Machine

Last Season,  “V” and Donna, (a couple of our comic co-hosts) had to sit in a “prayer machine.”   I play “V”, my bff is Donna – and yes, I do realize that I was just speaking about myself in the third person… but I think it’s ok, since mental stability is not a pre-requisite for being a comic host.

We were going for a “Horton Hears a Who” look here.

The Who's make such lovely machines!

Anyway, I used a folding chair, some silver duct tape (sharp edges! sharp!), some plastic tubing, some clothes dryer venting tubing, some Christmas lights, an oscillating fan, a little pvc,  some aluminum foil roasting pans, and various other miscellaneous stuff I found at the local hardware/home improvement store.

If you look carefully, you’ll see a plastic cup we covered in silver duct tape and attached to the end of the flexible tubing.  In this photo, it is tucked out of the way, but it was easy to grab and hold up to my face or ears like a megaphone or listening device.  Here are the pics.

That oversized calculator was less than $5 at Hobby Lobby, btw.

Srry for the poor qual photo.

Wait! This guy wasn't part of the machine. This is Max. Max likes to help. Max also likes to get in my way at photo time.

If I tried to explain how we did this in detail, my head would explode.  It was easy, though, and very light-weight.  When the oscillating fan “radar dish” was separated, I was able to easily carry one of these by myself.    🙂



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