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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: March ::
Falstaff and Other "Heavy" Costumes
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0698  Tuesday, 16 March 2004

From:           "Mark Woodland" <
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Date:           Monday, 15 Mar 2004 22:32:33 -0500
Subject:        Falstaff and Other "Heavy" Costumes

For anyone interested....

I inquired with an actor friend of mine who works at Disney World in
Orlando, and found out how they keep fully-costumed characters (like
Mickey Mouse) cool, even under Florida summer conditions.  One aspect,
of course, is to limit the amount of time they spend outdoors to small
stretches, and rotate them frequently; that's not a luxury that is
afforded actors in major roles on stage.  However, their key to
preventing heat stroke comes in the form of vests with fairly large
pockets (somewhat like a fisherman's or photographer's vest); into the
pockets, they place reusable cold packs from a freezer.  Not only does
this help prevent the actor from overheating, it also helps limit
perspiration... a very welcome factor for the actor who must don the
costume the next day, not to mention the other actors around.  The cold
packs can be changed as often as necessary and practicable.  For an
actor wearing a fat suit for Falstaff, or indeed any bulky, heavy
costume under hot conditions, this would be a boon.

The Island Shakespeare Festival does not perform outdoors (currently),
but having been an actor in outdoor productions, I wish someone had
thought of the idea.... even small, moldable cold packs hidden
underneath relatively more close-fitting Elizabethan-style costumes
would have been a welcome relief (Outdoor Shakespeare in Florida is not
for the faint of heart....).

Mark Woodland
Island Shakespeare Festival
E-mail: 
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