By Sophia Kinne ’20
Anyone lucky enough to have seen Intimate Apparel this past weekend would likely be more than happy to tell you how amazing the show was. I saw it myself, and the first thing I noticed was how the performances by the cast left me awed and impressed.
The actors performed without hesitation and without fear, as they embraced both the challenges presented by their characters’ worlds and the emotional turmoil within. When you are faced with performances so truthful and so real, it can be easy to forget how many people were a part of the production that appears so seamless as you are watching it.
This show’s production required students and staff working hard to design and sew costumes, develop and create scenery, and plan out and execute lighting and sound. Students worked to create the costumes so important to capturing and expressing each character’s unique position in life. Many costume pieces were integral to the story line, as well as to the play’s setting. Rolling set pieces established the different corners of the world that the main character Esther, played by Zahra Ruffin ’17, inhabits throughout the story. These set pieces were maneuvered on stage by a dedicated run crew, moving pieces swiftly and efficiently.
According to Anne Furman, a ’19 who works in the Scene Shop, and was therefore tasked with much of the behind-the-scenes work in the show, Intimate Apparel required more moving set pieces than the past few mainstage productions here at Dartmouth. This brought about new challenges for actors and crew, but added to the story in an unexpected way that the audience was able to notice as the story went on. Furman also noted that she and others working on behind-the-scenes work do not see the product of their work until they go to see the show themselves. Work done on the show in between rehearsals and runthroughs was often done without the actors and director. When you see the show, though, it’s clear that everyone involved really played a key role, even though everyone wasn’t working in the same way, at the same times, or on the same pieces.
Everything comes together on stage to create the story that the playwright, Lynn Nottage, was trying to tell. If you were not among those lucky enough to see the show this past weekend, Intimate Apparel will continue its run Thursday, November 10, through Sunday, November 13, in The Moore Theater. I highly recommend that you see the show. Allow yourself to notice how many different parts of the show there are. Chances are, there are more people behind the process than you might have originally thought.
I am a ’20 from Syracuse, New York. I am a proud member of the Barbary Coast Jazz Ensemble, specifically the trumpet section, and in an unrelated twist, the Woodsmen’s team. If you see me around campus, feel free to smile or wave. Either is welcome.