Tag Archives: costume designer

SOU theater program: ‘We train people well’

Deborah Rosenberg, professor in costume design at Southern Oregon University, is enjoying her 20th year as a faculty member of the SOU Theatre Program. Rosenberg acted in college and found herself in costume design, when she admitted to a director that she knew how to sew. I visited with Rosenberg in her office in the university’s newly expanded Theatre Building.

D.R.: I discovered that costume design gave me some distance from the stage pictures, whereas with acting, you’re in the middle of it. I found that my temperament was better served by being able to see the whole picture rather than the immersion experience from within. I could easily see that costume is too light, and that costume’s too dark, and I need more red on the rest of the stage.

We often get students who are interested in performance and discover lighting design for the very first time. It’s a glorious thing to watch a young person say, “I didn’t even know about this. And now I must know everything.” Or we have someone who comes in as a quiet, very shy person, and we watch them just grow in confidence, strength, skill and interest, and they’re standing center stage. It’s fun to watch the transformation of young people, of where they come from, mentally, emotionally, physically, to where they get to in just a few short years.

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Ana Kuzmanic

Ana Kuzmanic
Ana Kuzmanic

Ana Kuzmanic, costume designer for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s production of “The Count of Monte Cristo,” is originally from Croatia. She received a master’s degree in costume and scenery design from Northwestern University, where she now teaches. We met at Mix on the Plaza in Ashland.

EH: How did you find yourself in costume design?

AK: I was first fascinated by the representation of the human body in art. If you look at the voluptuous ideal of beauty from 100 years ago, the ideal of beauty today is opposite. Continue reading Ana Kuzmanic

Oregon Shakespeare Festival designer for a half-century says he’s still learning

Richard Hay
Richard Hay

Richard Hay has designed Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) theaters and sets for more than 50 years. In recent OSF seasons, Hay designed “Animal Crackers,” Coconuts” and “Tartuffe,” to name a few. He is currently finishing his design for “Anthony and Cleopatra.” This is the second of a two-part column. The first was published on March 5.

EH: You have designed sets for the entire Shakespeare canon?

RH: Actually I designed the canon twice. There are 36 plays in the canon. Some I have designed several times: Three of “As you Like It,” four of “Hamlet,” and a lot of the popular Shakespeare plays more than twice. I didn’t complete all 36 plays twice until last summer when we did “Richard III.” I had to wait a long time for that.

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Richard Hay’s vision on display at Ashland’s Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Richard Hay
Richard Hay

Richard Hay, legendary scenic designer at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, has been with OSF since its inception. Besides designing sets for more than 200 plays at OSF, Hay designed the interiors of the three theaters: the Angus Bowmer Theatre, the Thomas Theatre and the Allen Elizabethan Theatre. We visited over lunch at the Standing Stone Brewery.

EH: How did your association with OSF begin?

RH: I was a student at Stanford, majoring in civil engineering and architecture at the time. But I spent all my spare time over in the Drama Department, and consequently got to know people there. I got to be very good friends with Bill Patton (who later became OSF’s executive director). This was in the early ’50s; he was doing lighting for the festival in the summer time. It was just a summer operation then. Continue reading Richard Hay’s vision on display at Ashland’s Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Deborah Dryden

Deborah Dryden
Deborah Dryden

This season, Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Deb Dryden designed the costumes for “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Pirates of Penzance.”

After graduate school and several years as an OSF Guest Artist, Dryden became an OSF Resident Costume Designer in 1997. The superbly fitted, intricately constructed, richly textured, impeccably detailed, durable and weatherproof costumes (that seem to effortlessly appear on the OSF stages) are the products of the process that Dryden calls “builds.”

I visited the slim, soft-spoken Dryden at her studio, and we strolled through the OSF costume shop, which hosts a team of about seventy accomplished artists.

DD: We’re opening this week; simultaneously we are starting the builds for the outdoor summer shows plus “Julius Cesar.” We have eight shows in process. We are still finishing up some final notes from the first four shows.

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The Rainses: a team effort at Camelot

Barbara and Roy Rains
Barbara and Roy Rains

Costume Designer Barbara Rains and Production Manager Roy Rains are two remarkable talents at Camelot Theatre. The couple met while performing in the “Trail of Tears” drama at the Tsa-La-Gi Amphitheater near Tahlequah, Okla. They’ve been in Oregon almost two years. We chatted on the set of Camelot’s “White Christmas” in Talent.

EH: Barbara, what productions are you designing?

BR: This coming season, I will be designing all of the musicals. The next one will be “Funny Girl.”

EH: Roy, fill me in on your production manager duties.

RR: My job is to make sure that artists have what they need to realize their visions. We’re in a transition period for this position.

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Backstage at the Cabaret with Kerri Lea Robbins

Kerri Robbins
Kerri Robbins

Designer Kerri Lea Robbins has costumed more than 60 productions for the Oregon Cabaret Theatre.

Starting in the 1980s, armed with a bachelor’s degree in theater arts from Southern Oregon University and a master’s degree in costume design from New York University, Robbins spent 10 years creating props and soft goods for numerous Broadway shows.

She then taught costume design and makeup at SOU before joining Craig Hudson and the design team at OCT. Robbins created the astonishing costumes for its current production, “The Wizard of Panto-Land.” We met at Starbucks next to SOU.

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