The people behind the curtain

Alicia Bonestroo–Staff Writer

When you think about movies, TV, or even theatre, the first names that come to mind are probably actors and directors. But who can you name from the makeup crew? What about the people who did the costumes? The lighting? Sound? Set?

Exactly. Actors and directors are the ones who usually get their names up in lights. However, Dordt’s production of “My Fair Lady” is trying to give the backstage crew a little more of the spotlight.

Sue Blom, one of the behind-the-scenes individuals, designed the costumes for the show. There is a saying in the Dordt costume shop: “Sue looks at fabric and it sews itself.” She has been working on costumes at Dordt for about 20 years. She drives down from the Twin Cities in Minnesota every other week to assist the costume shop and teach the Costume Design class.

Becca Mulder was the show’s stage manager, with Kaitlin Baljeu as her assistant stage manager. Becca then took a position in the sound and light booth to ensure cues would happen exactly when they needed to. Kaitlin worked backstage to remind everyone when a scene transition was happening and when to enter.

Opening night of “My Fair Lady” took place on Thursday, Oct. 11. By Saturday night’s show, everyone was exhausted. Several people had become sick and many more had skipped dinner to make it to the TePaske Theater on time.

Sarina Johnston and Fedilia Lalruatsangi were part of the costume crew and helped fix any problems that arose. At one point, one of the actors accidentally cut his arm while in costume and began to bleed on his white shirt. The two quickly brought the shirt into the girl’s dressing room, used the sink to rinse out the blood, and then rushed out to find something to dry it.

The costume crew did more than just repairs. They also assisted with costume changes and helped locate missing costume pieces. When working with the costumes, hats can be stressful. Several of the larger hats stay attached to actress’ hair with pins, which are difficult to place.

The makeup and hair crew also played significant roles in “My Fair Lady.” Crew members included Christianna Marcy, Kate Wnek, Danikka Jackson, and Alicia Bonestroo, with Makeila Shortenhaus as the fearless designer and leader.

The show required basic makeup–foundation, some contouring, and highlights. The crew also added eyeshadow and blush. Holly Hiemstra had the most demanding makeup as she played the lead of Eliza. She had several minor makeup changes throughout the show, including the addition of fake eyelashes. Several of the men also had fake facial hair. Zachary “Sandy” Sanford added a fake beard and mustache for only one scene and during intermission had to remove them and the spirit gum that held them in place.

Overall, backstage is more chaotic before the show while the audience has yet to find their seats. A dozen actors or actresses crowd around five small mirrors trying to apply their makeup. They rush to put on their costumes in a room hardly bigger than a dorm while stagehands run around trying to locate props that were used the night before.

It calms down during the show. Naps and homework can be done between transitions, but concentration is difficult as music wanders through the theater.

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