by Camilla Niebling (Guest Blogger)
What could be more iconic for Saturday Night Fever consuming than Tony Manero’s white suit? Together, with the stance and the attitude, it has become one of the most memorable images in movie history. However, that is the movie and as a part of the costuming team, our mission is to transfer that look to the stage for all cast members.
If you looked at the world of fashion today, most people would automatically think more of women’s fashion. It is definitely more highly advertised and thought of with a higher regard compared to men’s where you can just slap on a t-shirt and jeans and pretty much go wherever you please. The 70s however, was an era where men’s fashion was definitely just as important as women’s. In this show for us, that is certainly more the case considering the sense of presence that Tony and the Faces have when they enter the disco every Saturday night. They have to own the stage and the way they look is a massive part of that for not only the audience but for the actor playing the role as well. Imagine being a bold and aggressive character only to be dressed in flouncy light blues or pinks or alternatively, being a shyer character only to be dressed in bright red or orange. Our job as costumers is to help the actors make the transition into becoming their characters and we have a great team together to help us do that.
Due to the nature of the show, with this having reasonably heavy dance requirements, we have had to look at making sure that whatever the performers are wearing can take the strain of movement. It is because of this we have brought in Debbie Burleigh from Debbie’s Activewear whom specialises in making costumes for ice skaters and gymnasts. Debbie has worked with RMT previously on shows such as Phantom of the Opera but it is in Saturday Night Fever that her knowledge and skills are coming to the fore front (If you have seen any of Redcliffe Musical Theatre’s promo photos featuring Tony is his white suit, yeah, that was her).
Also back with us is Barbara Bloodworth who has worked with RMT on more shows than one would care to count. She knows RMT and how they operate like the back of her hand and having her wisdom and guidance is invaluable to any production. Then then there is me, shifting between performer as Ensemble/Stephanie Mangano Understudy and costume consultant after only having previous experience with costumes for Harvest Rain’s production of Spamalot in 2014 (where I didn’t even know how to tread a sewing machine when I first started) and costume designer for Underground Productions “The Pillowman” this year.
The task for costuming in every show is unique and Saturday Night Fever is no different. Taking inspiration from the film, mixing it with iconic 70s style and bringing it to the stage is no easy feat, but is certainly is a whole lot of fun.