Yesterday I spent the afternoon and a good part of the evening at the luxurious Shannondell theater where Les Misérables is being rehearsed and will be performed later in July. I met with most of the cast and was thoroughly impressed. All of them are lovely, talented, down-to-earth, but super wired people.
A bunch of the guys walk with me to my car to help me unload. Where on earth will you find men who know not only what the purpose of a petticoat is, but who aren’t embarrassed to be seen carrying arm loads of them through a crowd of curious onlookers? Once back in the theater, the guys immediately try on all the hats and caps, while I bump into Olivia, the first person who introduces herself to me. She’s barely being able to contain her excitement when she giggles, “I play Cosette. And I’m getting married…!” Almost faster than I can unpack, she flits around like a little hummingbird in the girls’ dressing room, grabbing dresses out of my arms.
There’s really nothing like bridal gown fever. It’s super contagious. From the little girls who play the street urchins to the older teenagers, even Sophie, the lovely woman who’s making pinafores for the factory scene, everyone in the women’s dressing room is instantly infected. Everything that’s sensitive, soft, sweet and hormonal gathers around a growing mountain of satin and lace, squealing approval or loudly voicing criticism every time Olivia comes twirling out of the bathroom.
“Ooooh! That’s so pretty!”
“Nah! You look like a tea cozy on legs!”
“Gross! That thing’s like a thick bandage coming undone!”
“You’re a mummy escaping the crypt.”
Just to be safe, I have brought a lot of differently sized dresses, because bridal gowns are notoriously unreliable when it comes to fit. It turns out that the one this giddy bride-to-be tries on first is unanimously picked as the winner.
And both Julie and I agree: the dress has all of the hallmarks of the 19th century period: two poofy sleeves, a fitted bodice that only needs slightly altering, a full skirt with four different petticoats underneath, and a dream of a train that can easily be bustled so no drunken uncle will ever need to step on it. In addition, it’s also luxuriously beaded and definitely resembles the dress of a well-to-do young lady during the age of Romanticism. The added sequins, however, are definitely not appropriate for the period. They do add a lovely sparkle on stage, so we unanimously decide it isn’t something we’re not going to lose sleep over. People won’t to come to Les Mis with the sole intend to boo period-inappropriate attire. At least, we hope they don’t.
So it’s only 6 pm, and we’re able to take Cosette’s wedding dress as one of the first costumes off our “to do” list. Then everyone is so happy, they’re clapping and throwing confetti….
and I’m like…
…only without the spaceship hat and the granny-blue eyeshadow, and not for too long, because I’m well aware that the “to do” list is still a big one. Time to put the tissues away (they may come in handy later!) and focus.