10 Theater Tidbits

SUNY Ulster Theatre Department Gets Ready for a Performance.


When the curtain goes up for SUNY Ulster’s Theater productions, countless hours of work by students, faculty, community members and volunteers have gone into making the show possible. Here’s a peak at 10 things that happen behind the scenes:

  • Did you know Theater Costumer Aletta Vett travels on average 1,500 miles a production in search of the perfect thrift-store and yard sale bargains, fabrics, accessories and wigs to costume our student performers?
  • Bolts of fabric. Yards and yard of thread. Packages of dye. Dress manikins. Patterns and sewing machines. These are some of the tools of the trade for costume.
  • The Fall 2014 production of “Six One Act Plays by Christopher Durang” had 25 actors and 44 costumes, but with the accessories and pieces like bags, jewelry and shoes that totals hundreds of items to track.
  • Costumes are washed every night and arranged on large racks alphabetically by the actors’ last name with each individual piece hung in the order it will be put on – just like they do on Broadway. The order takes away the stress so actors can concentrate on their performances.
  • SUNY Ulster students have learned how to stitch and build costumes, replace buttons, make extensions, add sequins and more by Costumer Aletta Vett, who once sewed kilts for a living in her “retirement” and has been with SUNY Ulster for nearly a decade.
  • Students never wear their own clothing for costumes – with the exception of large size shoes that are hard to find.
  • Helping in the costume shop is a course requirement for Theater Production Participation credit. Students can be found ironing costumes, organizing accessories and getting fitted in between classes.
  • The costumes for “Six One Act Plays by Christopher Durang” were inspired by the mid 1980s and featured bright colors – except for the mourners in “Funeral Parlor” who wore black with pearl necklaces with the exception of one outrageous mourner who wore a lavender shirt and tie.
  • SUNY Ulster Theatre students have plenty of fun outside the classroom too. This Halloween, students haunted the Hurley Cemetery for the Ghost Walk Tour.
  • Costumer Aletta Vett says she loves working with the enthusiastic students in SUNY Ulster’s Theatre Department and there’s nothing like the energy backstage after opening night. “They are flying with energy,” she says. “It’s an amazing accomplishment.”
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2 Comments on 10 Theater Tidbits

  1. Katrina Ean // February 27, 2015 at 7:42 PM //

    This is a great article for someone who loves the theater as much as me. It will give you great insight into what goes on behind the curtain. I also like how it tells you how many costumes they buy for the plays themselves.

  2. Anthony Paterno // July 29, 2015 at 11:27 PM //

    This is the reason Aletta should be treated with a high amount of respect, along with anyone else who works behind the scenes of a show. Sure, the actors work very hard to put on a show, and such a job is very stressful. But so do those behind the scenes. Without them the shows don’t exist. So thank you Aletta, and all the others who do such a wonderful job for SUNY Ulster Theatre.

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