Maura Price on designing costumes for "Almost, Maine"
By ANTHONY CHASE
Maura Price’s costumes for Almost, Maine are so perfect that you might not notice them.
“This wasn’t an especially difficult show for me!” insists Price. Indeed, this show does not require period clothes, no antique undergarments or royal crowns. “All I had to do was shop!” she says.
Keep in mind, however, that this is a show in which four actors play 18 characters in nine scenes, often with rapid costume changes in between. One person might walk off the stage as one person and walk back on seconds later as someone completely different. Under Price’s vision, the audience distinguishes between these different characters with a glance.
The designer explains her method.
“When a show requires fast changes, I always begin with a base costume that is easy to build around and that the actor can wear throughout the show,” she says. “In this case, it was jeans and a t-shirt. Everything else was built around that. In the case of this show, we just go from one outdoor look to the next. Maine is not that specific for the northern United States. I’ve never been to Maine, but I do have friends in Vermont,” she quips. “That was close enough!”
One other insight the designer provides is that there is no dresser backstage. “The actors have to take care of themselves.”
Price is very familiar with the 710 Main Stage, having worked in the facility when it was Studio Arena Theatre.
“I’ve worked in the Buffalo theater community for 20 years,” she says. “I did wardrobe at Studio Arena and my first show was Summer and Smoke. In those days there would be dressers backstage. Now, on stage right, the actors can make a quick shot to the dressing room. On stage left, we have a place where they can throw things down. But they’re on their own!”
Price is a Buffalo State graduate with a degree in Fashion. After college she joined the staff at Studio Arena. She is the resident costume designer at Road Less Traveled. Without questions, her costumes enrich the experience of Almost, Maine. You can see the show through February 24th.