The Daily sat down with the costume designer for The Dolphin Show, Communication senior Cassie Bowers, to talk about her work to dress the cast of “Titanic” on stage, despite the challenges.
On the number of costumes to work on:
“I would say even for Dolphin this is a particularly large show in that there are 39 cast members. Almost all of them double, triple, quadruple as far as playing characters, so there are people who play as many as five different characters and they all need different, completely separate costumes.”
On accurately depicting the musical’s time period, the Edwardian Era:
“This is a very historically accurate piece. Titanic is based on real people, based on a historical event, so it’s not so much a show where the focus is on putting a concept on it. It’s a lot more about historical and period accuracy. Especially for the costumes, because the set can’t literally be a boat, so in many ways the costumes and props are what really root it in the historical period and with these real historical characters. It’s not an era you can really fake because a lot of periods — honestly (from the) ’20s on — are easier because the silhouettes are more similar to some modern silhouettes. There is nothing that looks like modern-day dress that looks like an Edwardian dress so you can’t fake it. ”
On the limitations of staffing, compared to professional theater:
“Typically when, for instance, you were doing this show on Broadway you would have a full shop behind you. Whereas for me, I needed to primarily rent costumes from other theaters. The Northwestern costume shop is where I got a lot of things. Luckily they actually did ‘Titanic,’ the musical, about 15 years ago so they still had a bunch of pieces from that, and I was able to repurpose some of them for my production. It’s been a lot about what I can find rather than making the costumes because the costumes of this period are too elaborate, realistically for me, to make them. I could potentially make an Edwardian dress, but it would take me a month, so I didn’t have time to really do that.”