August 11, 2020

Spotlight on Penny Margeotes – RRS Costumer

So Penny, let’s begin from square one – how did you even find your way into the world of costumes and theater?

Penny Margeotes

Costuming was a happy accident, kismet, serendipity, as was meeting Laurie Walton, which is why I am always costuming! (I tease her that since the day she asked me to to work with her at the Y, I’ve been as busy as she is.) I love this art form, love being a part of the process.

When designing a show – where is the first place you go or first thing you do, in order to begin the process?

I start by familiarizing myself with the show — reading the script, finding synopses & pictures online. I make some version of a costume plot, which is a breakdown of every costume piece worn by every character in a play. Most important, I talk to my director; it’s the director’s vision I’m trusted to effectively implement.

What do you find to be the most precious resource when creating this visual picture on stage?

The internet is obviously an amazing resource, to see how other professional & amateur productions have costumed their versions of a show, to research styles of a particular time, etc. I also have a great collection of books to which I often refer, & am a frequent visitor to the library. But a most precious resource is a costume collection owned & curated by the wonderful Donald Birely, who always has what we’re looking for, is a delight to work with, & who I’m always blabbing about.

How do you and Laurie work together? The relationship there seems like sisters who finish each other’s sentences..

Laurie & I have just always worked well together, symbiotically, with ease, sharing an essential something — point of view, aesthetic, sense of humor, all of above? — that does indeed allow us to communicate intuitively, like I do with my sister. She’s a dear friend who is also great to work with.

Once a show has opened, where does your focus shift?

I guess it shifts, for me, from preparing to being ready, & then to maintaining. Is that too pithy? haha

What is the most exciting part of the rehearsal experience for you?

Hmm, hard to say. It’s exciting to plan & to gather, to research. I get a little too excited about making my tags, & making sure the lettering is even. I love pulling costumes at Donald’s, & making lists of what we need & crossing stuff off. And I love when I can finally start saying to my actors, “Hey, guys, let’s try some stuff on.”

I have to say, though, that seeing it all on stage on opening night is most exciting of all.

What is your favorite type of fabric?

All too easy — cashmere!

Where does our resident costumer like to shop when not at the theater?

Another easy one — secondhand stores. (And yarn stores. And shoe stores. And vintage waistcoat stores… (oh wait, that’s where Niko likes to shop.)

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About Penny Margeotes

I love my family, I love our dog. RRS is awesome, and I love them, and they love me, and that’s show biz.

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