In theater, the story is told through a variety of means. It’s a combination of storytelling through the actors, lighting, music, scenery and costumes.
For the Hardin County Playhouse production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the costumes are a helpful aid to share the Shakespearian tale.
“One of the great things about Shakespeare is that you can set in any time or place,” director Shameca Freeman said. “We are going for a Celtic vibe for this production.”
She called the costume designs of Angela Liles “amazing.”
“They reflect the Celtic style of the production and help bring the characters alive,” Freeman said. “With the costumes, we are able to transport our audience into the wonderful world of fairies and magic.”
Liles said she began costuming by making Halloween costumes for her children through the years. Three years ago, her daughter’s school, Ekron Elementary, sought parent volunteers for a performance of “Annie Jr.”
“I put down that I could sew and would help in anyway I could,” she said. “That year, I made the orphan costumes.”
The next year, the school did “Jungle Book” and her husband Dave also was involved with the costumes. They made all the costumes for “Jungle Book” and again this past school year for “Mary Poppins Jr.”
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is the first time she costumed a show outside of Ekron Elementary.
In this play, costumes help keep the story straight for audiences.
“There are multiple stories going on at once that all intertwine,” Liles said. “By making each group slightly different, it helps to separate the different characters.”
For example, she said, a group designated as the lovers are all dressed in renaissance gowns and kilts with nice shirts to give them a romantic, renaissance feel.
“The mechanicals, which are actors in the play within the play, are all dressed in less glamorous clothes,” she said. “Their costumes for their play are exaggerated similar to their acting.”
The fairies are in fantasy-inspired attire, she said.
There were multiple costumes to create for the production.
She made all the fairy costumes and their spears. Dave handmade the wings for the fairies. He also made a donkey head worn by the character Bottom.
Liles said she also made the kilts, two dresses, the wig for Thisbe, the lion head and Puck’s costume. She also reworked a few wedding dresses for the Celtic Renaissance theme.
One costume looks like a wall. Liles made it and Dave airbrushed it. He also airbrushed a moon costume and made Hippolyta’s armor.
For Liles, making costumes for adults was a challenge.
“I’m use to working with much smaller performers,” she said.
Another major challenge was the wings.
“I had an idea what I wanted for the wings and Dave was amazing at bringing my vision to fruition,” she said. “It took him a little over a month to make 12 sets of fairy wings.”
How the actors would wear the wings was an issue to figure out and Oberon, the fairy king, was the most challenging, she said.
“For most of the fairies, elastic worked and could be tied into their costumes without much notice,” she said. “However, Oberon’s wings are pretty heavy and elastic wouldn’t have worked well or looked good with his costume.”
To solve the problem, Liles bought a bunch of belts from Goodwill and put them together to hold his wings on in a style that also fits his costume, she said.
Liles said all the challenges were worth it.
“I just love being able to help our community theater,” she said. “I love watching these amazing actors bring the costumes to life.”
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is at 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday during the Shakespeare Festival at Stithton Baptist Church in Radcliff. Tickets cost $5.
During the Shakespeare Festival from 3 to 7 p.m. both days, entertainment groups such as the Heartland Fillies, DDC Dance Team and Kentucky Borderline will perform. Performances take place in the church’s sanctuary and vendors are set up in the gymnasium.
“This is going to be a great production,” Freeman said. “Shakespeare is hard and these actors have put their hearts and souls into this production.”
For more information, call 270-351-0577 or find the Hardin County Playhouse on Facebook.