Costume Class Project: Focusing on the Actor – Rendering for “On The Harm of Tobacco”

Theatrical costume design is primarily (although not exclusively) concerned with supporting the actor in his/her interpretation of character.

Step 1: Read the monologue play On the Harm of Tobacco (aka “Smoking is Bad for You”) by Anton Chekhov and ask yourself the following actor-type questions about the man who makes this speech:

If this man were a car, what kind of car would he be?

If this man was an animal, which would he be?

What do you think he has in his pockets?

If he were a woman in the present time (!), how would she dress?

If he could choose to kill himself, or kill his wife, which would he do?

If you can, also find an actor friend and talk to him/her about this play and his/her ideas about what sort of things a costumer might do to help that person better portray that character.

Post your answers or any other insights you have, to the Class Message Board

Step 2: Based on these insights and ideas, do a costume rendering of the character, in color. Then label your drawing something like this:

‘If you have difficulty drawing figures,’ you can print out body outline sheets (Croquis) below, and do your rendering on one of them. Printing the sheet onto card stock will allow you to use watercolors without having the paper wrinkle.

More Croquis Body Outline Sheets

Another way of Making rendering easier is to make a “Dancing Man”:

Make this out of heavy card stock, connect the pieces with brads as shown in the center, and lay it on your paper to make different poses for your body-outlines.

Whenever you have spare time this semester, teach yourself more about rendering by practicing.

Step 3:

Scan and post the image you drew to your files section

and post a notification on the message board that you have done a rendering for this play and would appreciate feedback from the other students.