Senior Drama major Erin Kleiber took time out of her busy schedule to answer questions
about her work as a costume designer for the spring mainstage, Three Sisters, and
her design process:
Click here to see a slideshow of Erin's final costume designs for Three Sisters.
As a student designer working on a mainstage how has the experience been for you?
Up until I designed Three Sisters, my practical design work had been for senior studios. The scope of costume designing
a mainstage has been exponentially larger than my typical work: the cast size, the
budget, the production time, the work force, all of it is bigger than Im used to.
It is simply magical to see designs that come from my mind turn into actual, physical
What are some of the unique challenges of working on a Chekhov and specifically Three
The action of the play takes place over the course of several years, with significant
amounts of chronological time between each act. There are over a dozen characters,
each of which has their own individual story. Synthesizing all of these characters
and timelines was the primary challenge of designing Three Sisters.
What was your design process for Three Sisters?
After reading through the script, I made a list of what I absolutely needed things
that were specifically called for the script, or things that the characters mention
in their lines. After that came lots and lots of period research, and trying to figure
out how I could practically tell the story of the play with the resources that I had
at my disposal.
Do you have a favorite piece or costume in the show?
Chekhov calls for Natasha (freshman Zeina Masri) to have a wonderfully hideous pink
and green dress in Act I of the play. Shes an outsider a girl from the village desperately
trying to fit in with the family and way overdoes it. Getting to concoct something
intentionally ridiculous was very fun. Senior Lily Key, who works as a draper in the
Shop, built the dress and it turned out simply fantastic.
How has working on Three Sisters and directly collaborating with the faculty in the
Drama Department influenced your growth as a young artist?
Knowing that faculty at the Drama Department value my work enough to ask me to design
a mainstage production is huge; the fact that people who have worked in the professional
realm recognize my work as worthwhile and substantive has inspired me continue to
pursue a career in costume design.
When did you first become aware that you were interested in costume design?
I can remember doodling costume designs back when I was middle school. In college,
after taking the departments course in Stage Design and working as the costume designer
for several senior studios, I realized that costume design was something I was both
good at and interested in. I was fortunate enough to be given opportunities to expand
beyond just doodling my ideas and make them genuine and practical realities that an
audience can appreciate on stage.
What is next for you? What are your plans following graduation in May?
Im currently applying for internships at theatres including Julliard, Shakespeare
Theatre Company in Washington DC and the Undermain Theatre here in Dallas.
Three Sisters continues through April 13th at the Margaret Jonsson Theater. Click
here to reserve tickets.
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