Characters and costumes over the top in the Guild’s Earnest

The play, set in Victorian England, features elaborate costumes designed and created by Mary Spani and Chrystal Romano

J.D. Dueckman plays Earnest

Chilliwack Players Guild presents The Importance of Being Earnest, directed by Guild veteran Clint Hames,  Oct. 17-20 and Oct. 24-26 at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre.

The play, set in Victorian England, features elaborate costumes to emphasize the larger-than-life characters, and they’re designed and created by Mary Spani and Chrystal Romano, with many Guild productions and costumes to their credit over the years.

Spani got her start back in 1966 when she saw performances by the theatre group The Vagabond Players out of New Westminster.

“I thought it looked like fun, basically,” said Spani.

Her mother taught her how to sew when she was young, and, despite no formal education or training in the costume arts, Spani’s natural talents stemming from an enthusiasm and passion for clothing and fashion helped her successfully design costumes for numerous plays over the past 47 years.

“I don’t know how many plays I’ve done [costumes for],” Spani said, but estimates at least 75 in total. She and Romano are in charge of costumes for the Guild, and make up an enthusiastic and creative team.

Spani jumped at the chance to do the costumes for the Guild production of Earnest.

“You should have heard her,” Romano said, “even before she was asked!”

Spani agreed, admitting her favourite part of costuming is designing the hats. It can take Spani hours to create the perfect Victorian hat, but she loves every minute of it. “You can make them as big and as ridiculous as you want for this kind of period,” she said.

Wilde’s characters consistently push the limits of Victorian society and explore the hilarious consequences of what happens when those who are attempting to break out of these imposed structures come into conflict with those who are still embedded within them. In order to reflect this contrast, Spani and Romano designed their costumes to combine both traditional and modern styles of dress.

The costumes for Earnest, though remaining stylistically true to the era, must also be functionally adapted for the stage, said Spani. In past productions, she has utilized zippers, Velcro and even magnets to ensure her designs are easy for actors to work with, especially during shows with quick costume changes.

Getting to know the individual characters is important to costume designers like Romano and Spani. The personalities of each character influence the clothes they wear, so the costume team spent significant time both studying the script and watching rehearsals. A bold comedy like Earnest, set in Victorian England, allows for a lot of creativity and “over-the-top” designs, said Romano.

The Importance of Being Earnest runs Oct. 17-20 and Oct. 24-26. Tickets $25 /$20 for seniors and students with the Oct. 17 performance offering $5 off. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. except for Oct. 20,  a 2 p.m. matinee.  Tickets are available by phone at 604-391-SHOW or by going to the Chilliwack Cultural Centre.

–By Gillian Hames  – special to The Progress

 

 

Just Posted

Details of Chilliwack councillor’s expenses being sent to the RCMP

Decision to have expenses audited and shared with police taken at special meeting on Wednesday

Update: Search called off for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts were concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

Around the BCHL – Trail Smoke Eater grad to captain NCAA Michigan Tech Huskies

Around the BCHL is a regular look at the BCHL and goings-on throughout the junior A world.

Chilliwack firefighter seeking to reunite Rosedale VFD’s old auxiliary fire pump with antique engine

It’s been four decades, but Pat Liebault is hoping to reunite Rosedale’s auxiliary pump and engine

Watch out for Pavement Patty: Drivers warned outside B.C. elementary school

New survey reveals unsafe school zones during 2018 back-to-school week

Horvat leads Canucks to 4-3 shootout victory over Kings

Vancouver dumps L.A. in NHL pre-season contest

VIDEO: Woman files complaint over treatment of cat with two broken legs

Ariel Johnston of Abbotsford says her pet was sent home without pain medication

Why Whistler for ski jumping in 2026? Calgary proposal gets pushback

Calgary 2026 proposes re-using the 2010 ski jumping venue Whistler for that sport and nordic

VIDEO: Hundreds line highway as family brings home body of B.C. teen

Northern B.C. showed their support by lining Hwy 16 as Jessica Patrick’s body returned to Smithers.

Despite progress, threat of 232 tariffs dominates NAFTA negotiations

Any deal is seen to require congressional approval before Dec. 1 to survive new Mexican government

B.C. MP Todd Doherty receives award for saving man who collapsed on a plane

Conservative MP was flying from Vancouver to Prince George, B.C., in June last year

Alleged border jumper from Oregon facing 2 charges after police chase in B.C.

Colin Patrick Wilson charged with dangerous operation of motor vehicle, flight from a peace officer

More than 35 B.C. mayors elected without contest

No other candidates for mayor in the upcoming local election in 22 per cent of B.C. cities

Most Read