Dear Constant Reader,
Happy Friday! I can’t believe I’ve never shared this tip with you before. It’s some of my standard advice to my students.
Discard your costume pieces to the sides or back of the stage.
You want to keep your performance area clear. You don’t want to be stepping over your costume bits while you move about the stage — or worse, treading on them. It’s potentially bad for you as a tripping or slipping hazard and definitely bad for the costumes. Also, it’s less distracting. The audience will be looking at you and not that abandoned crinoline in the middle of the stage.
You may have noticed I didn’t tell you to discard toward the front of the stage. Part of that is visual aesthetics. As above, you don’t want the audience being distracted by clutter in front of your performance.
Sadly, the other reason is that costume pieces so close to the audience can become a tempting target for souvenir hunters. I know it sounds nuts, but I have heard too many stories from performers about audience members grabbing pieces of their costumes from the stage and spiriting them away. It’s so heartbreaking to realize an expensive, one-of-a kind item is just gone. The audience member may think they’re being a fan, but they’re just a thief. Keep the temptation away!
You could also take a page from our Legends and use a catcher to take your costumes after you remove them or perhaps have a decorative container in which to place your discards. These options also make life easier for the stage kittens.
Photo of my discarded gloves at ABurlyQ by Eric Peters Photography
Like this tip? There are lots more in Miss Mina Murray’s Little Book of Better Burlesque.