In the spirit of Halloween, Pan Asian will allow guests at our 36th Season Kickoff on Thursday, November 1st to be photographed with props related to our upcoming shows. Last week, my job was to visit Halloween and dollar stores in search of appropriate accessories. But before I set out, I conducted some quick research on the fashion that would be present in our plays.
No-No Boy, which will be read on November 16th and 17th, takes place in 1946
Seattle. Although not every character in the show identifies as American, the majority of them probably wore American-style clothing. One prominent article of men's clothing worn widely at the time is the wide-rimmed fedora. Women often wore pearl chokers and white gloves to accentuate their femininity.
Harajuku clothing, which will be present in Pan Asian's world premiere production of Dojoji: The Man Inside the Bell, is similar to post-World War II fashion in the way that it clearly defines males and females. For instance, harajuku girls complement their girly attire with chunky bracelets, necklaces, rings and hair clips as well as bright wigs, legwarmers and tiaras. Guys, on the other hand, typically don black boas, gloves, studded belts, chokers and chain necklaces.
The style of medieval Japan, which will also be worn in Dojoji, is very different from harajuku. Although few components of such outfits are accessories, one major prop that would be easy to find and recognize is a Japanese fan.
My supervisor suggested that we use similarly recognizable accessories, such as mustaches on sticks, to reflect the setting of Three Trees, 1960s France. Surprisingly, when I researched the era, I found that people really wore neck scarves and hats, such as berets, that are so stereotypically French.
Now that I had a list of items to look for, I began my adventure at the dollar store. Despite the number of beautiful children's costumes it carried, it sold very few individual accessories. Luckily, I spotted the two small shelves of tiaras as soon as I reached the second floor. Although they were not purely metallic like the ones in the reference photos, they could still work because they had big, pink and red rhinestones on them. Sadly, I cannot post a picture of them because someone, who may or may not have worked there, stopped me.
On the bright side, the employees of Halloween store, where I found the majority of my items, didn't see me snapping away. This was especially fortunate when I walked down the first aisle of the store and hit the harajuku jackpot. The black boas and studded accessories were across the aisle from each other. While I was happy to come across these items, I was really surprised that the boas, which simply consisted of feathers, cost just as much as the studded belts.
A few steps down the aisle were some pearls perfect for No-No Boy. I also spotted some fedoras that would reflect that same period. However, I didn't find an entirely black one until I explored the lower level.
In the "hair" section of the store, I discovered a plethora of colorful wigs. The hot pink ones were the only ones that were vibrant enough to pass for harajuku. The mustaches, on the other hand, were perfect, although their shape wasn't necessarily French.
As I scoured the store, I became slightly discouraged by not only the lack of French and medieval Japanese accessories but also the price listed for the perfect, plastic tiaras. My spirits perked up when I came across a pair of white gloves that could have easily been worn by ladies of the 1940s.
Overall, I believe that my costume mission was rather successful. Despite my inability to find French neck scarves and medieval Japanese fans in stores, I discovered some suitable hats and prop katanas among Pan Asian's props. The closet from which they came also contained pearl chokers, gloves and tiaras that would be perfect for our purpose. Now that we no longer have to spend money on these items, we can allocate our budget towards objects we don't already own. Thus there will be a wide variety of accessories to choose from at our 36th Season Kickoff. For those of you who can come to the Golden Unicorn Restaurant on November 1st, you should pose with some props at our photo op. I guarantee you that they will make for some fun photos that will make the start of this special season memorable. For more information about ticketing, visit our Special Events page.