The transformational magic of costumes at the Maryland Renaissance Festival
uk canada goose For nine months out of the year, actor and television editor Fred Nelson goes about his normal life, working by day in a darkened studio with blinking equipment and engaging in community theater at night. uk canada goose
canada goose clearance sale But come late summer, Nelson’s stentorian voice acquires an English accent. He drops his “moderately sedate” nature in favor of a disposition that’s more “life of the party.” And he sheds his favored Hawaiian shirts for royal Tudor garb, complete with a large overcoat, a chain of office and a crown with faux chicken feathers. canada goose clearance sale
Nelson becomes Henry VIII, one of England’s most storied kings and the leading figure of the Maryland Renaissance Festival. He’s had the role since 2002, and to hear him describe it, the costume helps create the character.
“Once you get into that costume, it envelops you. You feel your body swelling to fit not only the costume, but the image it projects,” Nelson said.
buy canada goose jacket cheap To attend the Maryland Renaissance Festival is to step into a fully realized reimagining of a bygone place and time. Many factors bring the magic canada goose manchester uk of the Renaissance to life, but nothing is more attention grabbing than the attire costumes make the festival what it is. The care put into researching, designing and manufacturing them transforms the actors and transports visitors to the fictional 16th century English village of Revel Grove, where the festival is set. buy canada goose jacket cheap
A behind the scenes art form
canada goose clearance The Maryland Renaissance Festival is renowned for its authenticity. That’s a testament to artistic director Carolyn Spedden, who creates the characters and chooses what outfits and colors they’ll wear. She relies on contemporary historical portraits, academic textbooks and her decades of experience in period costuming to put together the iconic getups. And since the festival storyline is progressive from year to year, Spedden pays close attention to the nuanced changes in clothes that look place throughout the Tudor period. canada goose clearance
“We go through all six wives of Henry VIII, and the look, by the time we get to his last wife, will be a little different than the dresses his first wife was wearing,” Spedden said. “A sleeve will be different, the hat might canada goose outlet online uk change, the jewelry might change.”
Canada Goose Coats On Sale This year’s iteration of the festival takes place in 1532. King Henry has exiled his first wife, and he and his mistress, Anne Boleyn, are at Dover, preparing to cross the English Channel to Calais, where they’re due to meet with the King of France. Canada Goose Coats On Sale
Spedden notes that Europe was in a cold spell at that time, one reason for the heavily layered garments court members wore. But modern day Anne Arundel County, Md., in late summer offers no such relief.
“We want to have the look without totally killing our actors,” Spedden said. That means lots of linens and silks to help keep things cool.
But some heavy fabrics, canada goose outlet eu such as velvet and chenille, are impossible to avoid in the interest of authenticity. “The men are wearing three outer pieces made from tapestries or silks, [plus] full tights and a shirt,” said designer and stitcher Cindy Andersen.
Andersen’s task is to bring the Festival’s vision to life. This year, she’s making 21 new costumes, in addition to dozens of recombinations for the actors. When sourcing material, Andersen visits local fabric shops and also orders hard to find items, like trims and brocaded silks, from specialty retailers online.
Like Spedden, Andersen is steeped in historical knowledge, which she relies on to nail the small details that help create authenticity at the festival. The continuous storyline allows her to subtly introduce changes each year, such as matching color patterns that may foreshadow an upcoming event between two characters. For example, the actress playing Catherine of Aragon wore the same green dress for three years, while Anne Boleyn got a new black and red dress. Over the same time period, Henry VIII went from wearing green to wearing black, red and gold matching his future queen.
“Color and scheme adds to the drama and how the viewer perceives what is happening,” Andersen said.
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Nelson is entering his 18th season of playing the king for nine hours per day, over a nine week span. Remaining constantly “on” can be a challenge, but the costume helps Nelson meet canada goose outlet his royal calling.
“I’ve played Henry all the way through the cycle, and things that happened in his canada goose online uk reviews life [were] often reflected in canada goose outlet las vegas the costume,” he said. He mentions the converging styles of Henry and Anne Boleyn. “Even though we’re not canada goose outlet china married, it’s going to be obvious that this is the king and future queen.”
Not everyone at the Maryland Renaissance Festival is a royal. Revel Grove is also populated by merchants, peasants and foreign visitors to the village. This year, one of them will be Franoise d’Alenon, Duchess of Vendme, a lady from a well to do family in France (and based on a real person). “She has a regrettable reputation and light morals,” explained Laurie Simonds, the actress who plays her.
The Duchess’s characterization is emblemized by her costume; she wears a scarlet red silk gown with a gold underskirt and sparkly button, details meant to stand out and reflect archaic symbols about women’s sexuality. “Those types of things influence how this person is perceived,” Simonds https://www.fanclub-fulton-smith.de said. “From the instant canada goose outlet a patron sees it, you know what kind of station she has.”
The costumes also influence the physicality of each character. “The ladies would have corseted bodices and the way that the sleeves are stitched in might affect how high above your head you can reach,” Simonds said. “It definitely will influence how you walk, how you move, if you can bend, how you sit.”
Canada Goose Online For Stephanie Ichniowski, who plays tavern owner Nell Quickly, the physicality of a costume helps with understanding how her character would behave, right down to how she interacts with festival goers. In the Tudor era, she said, “everyone approached each other with more refinement. But because Nell is a peasant, her costume reflects how she does not really care about outward appearances and is more about how she interacts with people.” Canada Goose Online
And playing a less well known figure gives Ichniowski freedom to put a “personal touch” on her character. This year, she gets to pick out her skirt to match the peach color scheme of the rest of her costume a symbol of her character’s warmth and approachability. “We don’t have to look as fancy and refined as Anne Boleyn,” she said. “We get to take hold of our own path and choices, guided by Cindy.”
Canada Goose online That level of research and attention to detail informs all aspects of a living experience like the Maryland Renaissance Festival. In creating a period specific look and feel that brings a world to life, costumes are perhaps the most noticeable component. But they’re part of a greater whole, alongside the set, the period music and performances. Canada Goose online
“Everything is designed to make you feel like you have stepped back in time to a 16th century village,” Andersen said. “When those elements all come together, it really does create magic. It really does transform you.”.