A dress to impress: Behind the scenes of Eurydice

November 21, 2016

By Nina Mastandrea

Eurydice, the performing arts’ most recent play, is a relatively small production.

But even with only seven cast members to dress, hours of hard work and attention to detail is still paid in order to get the costumes as close to perfect as possible.

Over the last several weeks, faculty and students have worked to craft and curate the costumes that made it on stage for the show’s performance.

The play, based on the Greek mythological tale of Orpheus, turns the original story on its head; now being told from the perspective of Orpheus’ wife, Eurydice.

Dying too young on her wedding day, Eurydice is cast into the underworld where she reunites with her father.

A bitter-sweet encounter made all the more difficult when a love-sick, grieving Orpheus travels to the underworld to retrieve his wife.

The play focuses on the decision Eurydice must make: stay in the underworld with her beloved father, or travel back to the world of the living with her husband.

Travel behind the scenes, and take a look below, to see how faculty and students prepared for their debut on stage. 

Lace and pearls descend from the top of the strapless wedding dress down to the hem. The dress will be worn by student Sammy Campbell playing lead part of Eurydice. Program Coordinator and Associate Professor of the Performing Arts, Michael Hannah, worked to ensure the dress would fit Campbell as best as it could. The actors must be able to move and do their job on stage without worrying about their costumes, he said. As for the dresses design, Hannah said he wanted to keep it simple. 

Hannah poses for a portrait in the main costume room. He has worked at Lees-McRae for about 25 years, he said. As he walked up and down the rows, Hannah pulled dresses and garments out from their places, stopping to describe what performance they had been featured in and who made them. Each garment in the room has a story. Many of the costumes, donated to the program, were once owned and worn by actual people. Many more were hand-made and customized for the play and the actor. 

In the main room of the costume building, a student works to iron fabric and sew certain pieces needed for the performance. Any and all space available in the building is utilized for storage. Bins containing scarves, socks and slips line walls alongside shelves of shoes in every style, color and size. 

Hannah works to ensure the red train stays secure to the white wedding dress Campbell will wear. On several occasions in the play, characters comment on Eurydice’s “interesting” choice of dress, but nowhere in the play details does it say what the dress actually looks like. Hannah saw that as an opportunity to try something different and be creative.

Behind the stage, a student checks over the costumes, including the bold red and white wedding dress. Each garment, hung neatly, has the name of its actor above it. It is important that the actors can quickly change in and out of each costume in order for the performance to go smoothly. 

Campbell and several other actors prepare for their performance moments before they go on stage. Many of the women talked and laughed as they got ready, enjoying the time backstage. 

Campbell walks out on stage in the completed wedding dress, clutching the train to her chest. The dress was accompanied by white satin shoes, a red tulle strap across her shoulder and a white and red veil strategically pinned in her hair.  

Categories:  The Arts,  Academics,  Performing Arts

Media Contact:

Nina Mastandrea  |  Content Manager
Tel: 828.898.8729  |  Email: mastandrean@lmc.edu