By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
When a hauling trailer arrived at McNary High School packed with the dresses and vests and even wolf heads for the upcoming production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, costumers Beth Murphy and Lexie Simpson spent the next few hours reveling in their work.
“The costumes are just crazy in their detail. We spent hours just going through and matching the pieces. The whole time we were asking each other if we had seen some new piece that had just been unwrapped,” said Murphy.
Then the girls had to set to work.
“Everything has to be hand-stitched and it has to be able to come out. Sometimes it’s just pinning things up or repairing rips, but we’ve had to take in the shoulders and waistlines for a lot of the main characters,” said Simpson.
Performances begin Thursday, Nov. 12, and, for the first time, tickets are being sold online. Visit mcnarytheatre.weebly.com for show dates, times and tickets.
While the costumes arrived in bulk from Westview High School, the McNary theatre tech students have spent weeks building everything else. That’s meant creating or repurposing set pieces and painting fly panels to recreate the feel of a proper Disney animated movie.
“It feels a lot like we’ve been living in a fairy tale the whole time we’ve been working,” Simpson said.
Student Taylor Long designed the chair for the villainous Gaston.
“We had a medieval chair and I picked out pieces that I liked and reformed the rest of it,” Long said.
It’s taken her about 12 hours, but she designed and cut an addition to the chair back that looks like racks of antlers. That piece alone is six feet across.
“We had originally done it as four feet, but it looked too small. When it’s finished, it will have fake fur on the armrests and bright red satin cushions with gold cinches,” she said.
Zena Greenawald, Madison Munro and Katherine Gray are handling most of the art design for the set pieces.
“The hardest, and most fun, part is trying to make it seem like reality while having it also be outrageous,” said Gray.
While some of the design includes taking input from others, Greenawald said the team is taking inspiration from other sources.
“We’ve looked up a lot of photos of old French villages and we’re trying to mix those with the cartoon style,” she said.
Munro said it’s really become a team effort because not only are they creating the set for the play istelf, they are creating a separate backdrop for tea parties that will be held with the members of the cast each Saturday of the performance.
“I’ve enjoyed being included in the whole design process and working as part of a team is a good time,” Munro said.
Stage managers Serena Dufour, Sarah Hays and Jaida Watson are overseeing the organized chaos of preparation for the opening night. Given all the moving parts, literally and figuratively, Hays said she’s been most surprised at the response from members of the cast.
“It’s been good just seeing how the cast and crew responds when you try to assert some authority and try to be respectable,” she said.
Watson said watching it all come together, even when it’s stressful, has been worth the hard work it’s taken to get to this point.
“Seeing the cast smile to themselves after they hit a big dance number is really cool. Watching it come to life makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside,” Watson said.