When fashion or custom. A costume is


     When it comes to the subject of theater
many people might say that there isn’t much to putting on a play, you just find
actors for each roll, dress them up, throw on some lights and sound then boom
your play is created. That’s actually not the case at all. There are very many
skills and elements that go into making a play with tons of help from many
different people. In this paper, I will be talking a little about the history
of costumes as well as the different functions. Many

don’t realize how much work and dedication is put into making costumes and
getting the actors ready for show time. Without the perfect costume design or
correct makeup, the actors in the play wouldn’t fit the part correctly, and the
play just wouldn’t be the same.

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word costume is an Italian word and it means fashion or custom. A costume is a
particular type of style or dress that an individual or a whole group of people
will wear to reflect the character they are playing. Costumes have always been
a major element in the theatrical experience. “They are vehicles for the
“dressing-up” that actors and audiences alike have always considered a
requirement for theatrical satisfaction.” (Cohen. P116). When it comes to
modern costumes they are based on an

design plan. This plan became important during the 18th and 19th century when
realism began to arrive in the Western theater. Realism is what lead to an
interest in historical accuracy in design, which then required consistency and
by the early 1800’s, people started putting in a lot of effort to make sure
that the design of every costume in a play was accurate to its era, including
every prop and set piece (Cohen. P116).

     There are four separate function designs
for modern costumes. The first one

have some type of ceremonial magic. For the second one, the costumes that are
being used in the play have to convince us of the roles they are playing and
draw us into the play. Third, each costume should express each characters role
and be specific to each one. And fourth, the costume is used as clothing for
the actor to wear. (Cohen. P117)


     Then there is the costume designer who
will begin with ideas about the play’s action, themes, historical setting,
theatrical style, and the impact that the play might have on the audience. The
costume designer will collaborate with the director on fabrics, colors, shapes
and the time period. The designer is in charge of all materials and oversees
everything every step of the way. Sometimes costumes may be selected from the actor’s
own wardrobe or even purchased from a thrift shop. The designer will usually
have a portfolio of images from their research and will create a series of
black and white sketches, which are usually called roughs. Once the designer has
met with the director and design team then the designer will start to create
the actual designs. Each design will have notes explaining each costumes
details including accessories, makeup, hairstyles etc. The next stage is
crucial because it’s the stage where they start making the actual costumes
(Cohen P119). Then last, but not least there is the makeup, which is an
essential part of the actor’s face and hair. The makeup is the only major
design element where the planning is usually left up to the actor or actress to
decide. However, Makeup is one of the archetypal arts of the theater, probably
the first of the theater’s design arts, and it was absolutely fundamental to
the origins of drama (Cohen. P120). Makeup is very important because sometimes
it’s the only way you’re able to change the actor’s appearance to resemble the
character. Costumes and makeup are two important elements to making a play,
without these two things a play just wouldn’t be the same.