As a Mum who has spent an. awful. lot. of. time. working on stage and off in various theatre productions over the years and having a bit of a thing for good costumes, plus who’s Hubs and Twins all have great fun when it comes to fancy dress, I feel it only right and proper that I rise to the occasion for the school production!
This year Twin 1 and Twin 2 are both guards in a somewhat alternative production of Robin Hood. Sounds fairly simple…I stupidly thought! I had envisaged raiding the fancy dress box and extracting a selection of swords, shields and plastic helmets along with a mixture of random chain mail vests.
Oh-hoho-No! Twin 1 and 2 were playing the parts of 2 guards. Guards who worked for the Sheriff of Nottingham and also Guards who were to be in the castle of Prince John. The Sheriffs guards the Twins told me (and the script costume backed up) would need to be simple and that they would need a stick or a sword. The Prince’s Guards would need a more ‘elaborate’ costume due to the fact that they had no lines (Sheriff Guards did have lines. So, drab costume with speaking part v. flashy costume but don’t expect to hear your little one’s voice!)
Now, I will admit that I do like a challenge and I do love my sewing machine and Hobbycraft! (Our fancy dress escapades are always very thorough and to date I have made 2 sets of original Willy Wonka vests, a Captain Jack waistcoat, Jedi master and Jedi apprentice costumes and back in the early days, a ‘The Sun Has Got His Hat’ on Costume, ‘Chick Chick, Chick Chick, Chicken lay a little egg for me’ costume, shepherds, spacemen and camels!
I set to, designing a costume which would be suitable for the necessary quick change, but was very aware that there would not be space for an entirely separate costume to be stored during the performance (school hall jobby – no wings, no costume rail! Just the Morrisons carrier bag on the floor which if rustled too loudly would detract from the main performance!)
Just like Baldrick, I had a cunning plan! It mainly involved cardboard, spray paint, stencils, Velcro and material. Make the armour with different sides so that the costume can just be swung around 180 degrees to reveal the other side. Genius! The boys loved the idea! They decided that the Sheriff side should be silver with a black stencil of a guards helmet and that the Prince John Guard side would be gold with a red stencil of a shield sporting (wait for it!) a star, a crown and a sword! Owwww-kay.
We had plenty of spray paint lying about following previous fancy dress creations – plenty of red in fact as we had not that long before made a post box for Twin 2. Yes, you read that correctly – a post box! They had to go incognito for the day and the child who could not be identified by the head teacher would win a prize. Twin 2 came up with the idea of being a post box. We made a giant box into his disguise and bless him he did actually walk to school inside it! Every now and then he would duck down when he heard people coming closer, just on the off-chance that they might believe this was a real letter box and post a letter! Anyhooo, back to the Guards armour situation!
The Twins each designed a stencil and together (having sprayed the card either silver or gold) we cut them out and lay them onto the breast plates. We then sprayed the chosen colours and actually they looked pretty good!
The final part they both insisted on having was capes…..Sheriff guards to have a black cape, Prince John guards to have a red cape. This is where the sewing machine came into play! After a dash around Hobbycraft to purchase the cheapest material they had I managed to whip up 2 double-sided capes. These would need to be flipped over (with the use of Velcro!) when the armour was spun around.
Finished off with some dressing up chain mail vests and hoods (plus my 2 long sleeved black tops!) the Twins look pretty darn good! What could have been something quite complicated turned out to be a great simple idea!
The play went well, the costume changes were succesful – the correct guards turned up in the correct scenes phew! – and they both remembered all their lines! Huzzar!!
Well done kiddos, love you oodles!
The Aloha Mummy