How does Theatre Costume Happen? The Secret to “Magical” Costume Change

Have you ever watched a theatrical play and were amazed when a character was able to change his costume for another scene in just a few minutes? Well, who wouldn’t be? Especially if the character was able to change his costume without any trace on the floor seamlessly? It seems magical. And nowadays, costume change in a split second is also highly-recognized. So, if you want to know the art of changing costume in just a few seconds, here are the following vital points to consider.

1. Unbuttoned and unzipped clothes

Designers make sure that the clothes are not buttoned nor zip. During the split second duration, they cannot risk having a zip stuck, or a button struck while they are helping the character change. Hence, the use of a magic tape is popular in theatrical costumes. All you need to do is to snap out the fabric of clothing, and you will be able to peel it off from the character.

Some designers also use thread in their costume making. There are a loop and eye fixings, and these are attached to a thread. Once on the backstage, all they need to do is to remove the threat to remove the clothes as well quickly. This is sometimes called the “hands-free” removal.

2. Taking advantage of the colors

Designers also took advantage of the colors in changing the costumes of a character. For instance, if the upper part of the dress is a different color of the shirt you are wearing inside, and the top can be separated at the shoulders, all you need to do is to flap the upper part of the dress downwards to become the skirt and the different color of the shirt inside will be revealed. Hence, an instant change. It can be done in just a matter of seconds, and this customized costume is very convenient. It also reduces the risks of getting stuck while changing the costumes backstage. Using heat press in making shirts can be very advantageous in this kind of method.

3. The quick change method

The quick change method is one of the oldest yet most effective methods of changing costumes. It involves using hooks, pulls strings, and buttons to release the top clothing and reveal what is inside. Hence, the designer must use an opaque fabric to execute this kind of method properly. Some of the production team must be waiting backstage and help the actor change into his clothes because you couldn’t risk any time wasted while you are changing clothes even with the use of strings and hooks.

4. The glitter method

Lastly, the glitter method. It’s changing clothes with the use of technology. How? Technically, the clothes are made out of LCD sensors. Its small triggers similar to the twitching of human muscles. Hence, the character will only signal the crew offstage to change the design and color of the clothes that he is wearing.

With the use of the muscle-like triggers, you can easily release the clothes that you are wearing, or more like give an illusion to the audience that you are wearing a different type of clothes in just a matter of seconds.

In order to successfully change costumes in just a matter of seconds, a proper costume design and alert production team is required. There are lots of people behind the split-second quick-change we usually see on theatrical dramas. If you want to impose the aforementioned methods in the manner of changing clothes backstage, always take it into consideration while you are designing the theatrical costume.