On January 12, 2020, we closed our school production of Beauty and the Beast. It was a chaotic weekend because of weather cancellations and postponements and overall we lost a show from our run, but it was still a HUGE success. Since posting images of our production, I've received a lot of questions about our Beast costume, so I'm going to do my best to share process photos here as well as links to the materials we used.
His blue coat was a Victorian cosplay coat with the trim painted gold. We bought it on Amazon and removed and repainted buttons too. (Link.) The coat was paired with a gold vest for the "Beauty and the Beast" iconic number.
His base costume always included a poet shirt, even as the prince. Search terms "Pirate" and "Gothic" will help you track down similar items. (Link.) We also put him in black knicker pants and sewed padding into the thighs in front to achieve something like a reverse leg wolf effect. For gloves he wore fingerless paw gloves (Link). All of the fur in his costume was painted to match the color of the wig.
The feet were created by a student who used fur, batting, muslin, hot glue, and some sewing to make a wolf paw look. We started with a Demonia platform boot because the boy playing Beast was as tall as Belle, and we added lifts inside to boost him nearly six inches. The boots were covered in fur and the heel exposed to create a walking on toes look like a dog. Padding was added to the back to bring out the calf and with the thigh padding, exaggerate the illusion of a reverse dog leg.
My student, Emily, made little stuffed balls of fabric to attach to the boots and covered them in fur. These were the individual toes. We also glued claw claws into the front for toenails. She left the zipped accessible, which was much easier on side-zip boots. The boots we made for our understudy, who was also the body double for the prologue, were back zip and that made the padding part MUCH trickier.
The mask was my own project after our previous musical wrapped, and it made the transformation very easy. I constructed a leather mask in two layers. Below are images of the templates I created. The base layer was wet-formed on a mannequin and once it was dry, the next layer was formed on top of it to add depth. The pieces were then glued and painted before stitch holes were punched and they were stitched into a wig (Link.) The last step was to add a pair of horns (Link), which we'd used in a past show so the horns were already tipped with bronze paint to add depth.
The wig worked out beautifully and held styling well. The show was a huge success. I would just recommend stocking up on hairpins to keep it in place during the fight on the tower.
THE DESIGNS PROVIDED CAN BE SCALED UP FOR LARGER TABLES. THIS IS JUST WHAT SUITED OUR SMALL STOOLS AND SPACE FOR OUR SCHOOL PRODUCTION OF BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.
I am fortunate enough to have a great Technical Theater Production class this year. It has already given me plenty of opportunities to learn basic theater tech skills while working on our winter musical, Beauty and the Beast. Our first project this year, after certifying on the mitre saw and cordless drill for safety (and covering first aid) was to put those skills to use to create five miniature tables.
For this project we used pre-cut 2'x2' sheets of 3/4" ply from Home Depot, plus our stock of 2"x4" lumber and some leftover 4"x4" beams. Two screw sizes were also used. This project was heavily supervised by both me and my advanced tech student. You should get each kid to demonstrate safe operation of the tools before the project begins.
My students had a checklist of skills and steps they had to demonstrated and then we both signed it. This is a necessary step for the safety of the students and for legal reasons as well. Students were not allowed to work without safety glasses and close-toed shoes, and all measurements were double-checked by their other group members.
I began the project by giving out plans (link below) and asking kids to do a little math to figure out some of the missing measurements. We checked these as a class. We also figured out a plan of where to insert screws, reminding them that they could not cross paths. This meant a day of work before we even began to measure and cut. It was a slow project compared to what some Dads could crank out in a weekend, but it was fundamental for teaching those critical skills for construction.
We spent a few days cutting and assembling. They built the frame first, then attached legs and crossbeams, the finally the tabletop. These were essentially redundantly stable mini platforms with an overhang. We will have boys standing on them and stomping in "Gaston," so we needed extra stability. If you want students to move on them more, then the overhang should be eliminated: if weight is put on the edges of the table, it will tip. If your tables aren't going to be holding a lot of weight, the cross braces can be eliminated.
I liked the cross braces because students had to drill in at a 45° angle, which took skill and planning.
We finished the tables with brick red paint on the legs (because we were covering up pre-painted 2"x4" boards and sanding them was too time intensive. Next students drew faux planks with permanent marker before using two coats of a 2-in-1 stain and poly. We used disposable brushes for the stain because we don't keep paint thinner or oil paints at the school.
At the end of the project a student even made a paper model of our design and left it in my room as a piece of guerrilla art. Some of the tables were a bit better crafted than others, but with proper supervision and heterogeneous assignments of skill in the groups, I got five usable products.
Want to see them in action? Keep an eye on @omhsdrama on Instagram. Our show is in January!
After hearing the name Airtable dozens of times on my theater teacher Facebook groups, I finally bit. It only took me a week of playing with the powerful database platform to realize that I needed to pay for the premium features and use this for the rest of my teaching career.
What is Airtable? Well think Sheets or Excel, but on steroids. Not only can Airtable organize a spreadsheet and take updates from a form submission, but it has powerful "Blocks" that let you create printable layouts, timelines, etc, AND you can pull in data from other sheets for some really amazing applications.
Here are just three of the many ways I'm use Airtable to make my daily life as a drama teacher easier.
There's been a lot of talk lately about extracurricular activities that ask for an all-or-nothing commitment from students. But where does it stop being the fault of the teachers, and start becoming the responsibility of parents and students to choose?
When I was in high school, my gym teacher aggressively tried to recruit me to play lacrosse. I enjoyed it in class, but athletics where I attended tenth grade were daily after school, and I wasn't about to give up drama club from 2:05-4:30 every Tuesday and Thursday to play a sport. I was still able to serve as president of the National Honors Society, edit the student literary magazine, serve as my homeroom rep, and attend Monday meetings of the art club. And I held down twenty hours a week working retail, participated in Venture Scouting, and earned my Girl Scout Gold Award. I just couldn't play lacrosse.
Looking back I sometimes wonder if that was the right choice. I recently found out that The Savannah College of Art and Design (where I earned my BFA in Performing Arts) has a really good lacrosse team and that--had I been good enough-- I might have been able to get a scholarship instead of swimming in student loan debt for ten years after graduating. But playing lacrosse would have meant giving up so much more, and given the path I chose, those hours of rehearsal provided an education more valuable than being debt-free a few years earlier.
This post breaks down how I used a Trello Gold membership (less than $60 a year) to make a flexible digital lesson planner. I use Trello boards for project management for theatre productions as well as a number of other personal projects, so I find a Gold membership to have value beyond replacing the price of a snazzy lesson planner. When I consider the fact that my colleagues spend about as much on their Erin Condren planners and can't even attach Google documents, I think it's worth the cost. The real reason I wanted to go digital was for the ability to adapt without burning a whole in a paper planner with my eraser. Surprise pep rally? I can just drag and drop my activities to another day of the week!
After upgrading your free membership to Trello Gold, which allows three Power-Ups to be used (if you want more, you can use Trello Business for $120 a year), you will need to add these three upgrades:
Amy is a drama teacher with an M.Ed. in Secondary Education, ELA, teaching in the suburbs of Birmingham, AL.