Dave simply had to be his favorite Bast, of course; it would be easy to transform him. Mark was the next cast, as Ambrose. Then Jon was assigned the faceless evil (a role he performs eerily well), and Alena and Melissa took the two female leads. And then it was realized that once again, Laura would play a young male (a diversion from her recent trend of playing middle-aged men) and of course the opposite number to Mark’s character.
This is an entirely found-object costume project; everything came from our closets or was recycled from another costume, with the exception of Kvothe’s red wig — but more on that wig in a moment. Fortunately a fantasy setting allows for a bizarre mix of pieces. (We’d love to do full costuming for the book, but we have competitions coming for new costumes which aren’t even properly started yet, and….)
The “lute” (a mandolin, but don’t tell!) was generously lent by IRT‘s props department. Who would have guessed that one of the top regional theatres in the country would ever be a part of our fan costuming?
The following photo array is spoiler-free for your enjoyment. Go read the book.
(* The primary character is a musician who practices a variety of magic known as sympathy. Yeah, it’s an abusive pun. We promise to behave now.)
Kvothe’s wig was the only item created for this photoshoot. It started life as a cheap nasty thing purchased from a party store, but it was cut and styled beyond recognition. By the time we were finished, Kvothe looked a bit more like an anime character than an early pseudo-Renaissance young man, but hey, it’s what we do. “We’re cosplaying from the anime that will eventually be made of the book,” we justified.
Still, it was a dramatic modification. “I am so proud of that wig,” Alena announced after she finished cutting it.
The trouble came when we colored it to give more depth and realism (no one’s hair is a single shade all the way through). There are a couple fundamental rules of constructing costumes, and we just plain forgot one of them.
#1 – Always test on scrap first. We did this, testing colors on the scraps of wig hair which had been cut. We eyeballed the result, the effect was approved, and we went on to highlight the wig itself. It really did look like flame when finished.
#2 – Always take test photographs to see how the end product will look in flashes and other lighting. Oops — we neglected this step. Imagine our horrified laughter when we took a photo of the finished product on a wig head and realized that some of the highlighting photographed a brilliant fluorescent green! Incandescent light works well, but sunlight and camera flashes reflect a bright chartreuse.
So, we added that incriminating photo to the wig tutorial in our cosplay instructional panel material, and we spent the rest of the week lamenting, hedging lighting, fudging, and trying to correct the photos. In the end, our protagonist looks like a refugee from a rather frightening 1960s beauty salon. Ah, life lessons. Offhand, I’d say it’s a good thing that we hire professionals for our own heads of hair.
Hey, check it out! We’ve been officially geek’d and approved by Patrick Rothfuss, the author of our source material. Huzzah!