By Mengteang Thong
Art is a part of everyone’s life. Costumes in our shows match what is happening in the world outside. They play a role, just like the artists do. Our wardrobe department recently took part in a creation workshop, coming up with ideas and creating new costume. The new costumes were created to be flexible, comfortable and to show both historical and current Cambodian fashion. We sat down with Dary Tha, Costume Manager at Phare, to talk about the new costumes.
What are the ideas behind the new costumes?
The new costumes were mainly created to support our artists in their performance. We focused on materials and selected them based on how flexible and comfortable they are for the artists. We also had to create the new costumes for a new show, so we were thinking about the theme of that show. And we also tried to use Khmer traditional styles, to showcase our Cambodian identity.
What is the process to make a new costume?
To create new costumes, I need to know who is going to wear them and what they look like. What are they are performing? What is the character of the performer? Then I find a way to match the costumes to who they are and what the story of the show is. The next step is drawing the costumes and choosing the colors. I also need to know how flexible the artists are and how much they move around during the performance. We always use elastic fabric to move with the performers bodies.
When will the new costumes be used on stage?
Before the artists use the costumes and perform on the stage, they need to do rehearsals few days before. If they are not comfortable with some areas, we will find the better way to replace with the same or better quality. Normally, the new costumes are not always comfortable to the artists, so the artists need rehearsals time and do adjusting.
How long did it take to make the new costumes?
We are pretty quick. If there are raw materials available locally, we would spend between seven and ten days to complete one costume.
If the materials need to be ordered from outside the country, we usually take about a month to finish.
Where do the material come from?
The materials come from Battambang province, mostly from second hand shops. There are many choices for second hand products and they provide reasonable prices. This is reasonable way to cut down the cost.
What did you learn from the costume workshops?
I have been learning a lot from the many costume workshops. Now I understand more about how to create new costumes. It has been a great experience. I understand more color, choosing materials, and style. Creating a good costume is not easy, but we are happy to learn and improve.
How important are costumes for the show?
The audience needs to see the full potential of every artist on the stage. Costumes play a necessary role to increase the energy and power of each artist. Without costumes, something is missing. And it is important to show Cambodian fashion, both historical and modern.
Read more about workshops at Phare
This workshop made possible with the support of: