The final touches

March 14, 2021

On the evenings of March 9-10, the cast and crew for The People Before the Park gathered for final dress rehearsals. In the audience sat three cameras, ready to film the performance from all angles.

Golden light, representative of a hot sun, basked each costume in warmth, from actress Britny Horton’s brilliant tawny dress, topped with a lace-trimmed jacket and sunhat, actor Steven Willis’ plaid vest, worn over a billowing white shirt, and actress Kate Anderson’s blue polka-dotted dress and simple apron.

Actor Steven Willis performs in the University of Iowa Theatre Department production, “The People Before the Park” on Thursday, March 10th, 2020. “The People Before the Park” is set in the predominantly Black community of Seneca Village as its citizens are being forced to flee so New York City can build Central Park over their land. (Tate Hildyard)

Backstage, a masked and gloved wardrobe crew of four assisted the actors when necessary, helping them get in and out of their garments. The process took a little longer in order to meet safety protocols, Petkewec said, but their duties otherwise remained the same.

All along, the costume team prepared for the next step. They changed out shirts for new ones that would work better on the camera and adjusted mask and microphone placement. As the end of filming neared, Petkewec watched the stage with a sharp eye, observing how each costume laid and moved on the actors.

Coleman said that her experience working in the shop and making garments as a graduate student is one she is very grateful for, and having a functioning theatre department during the pandemic is something she doesn’t take for granted.

“The department and university are doing an amazing job making sure everyone stays safe while still producing and creating amazing art,” she said. “I’m happy to have a part in it.”

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