If you've gone to the theater in Houston, chances are you've seen costume designer Macy Perrone's work. She recently worked on Dog Act for Main Street Theater; that show was filled with apocalyptic scavengers that had a steam punk vibe. She also costumed the comedy The Nacirema Society at the Ensemble Theatre. Nacirema Society was set in the 1960s and centered on a wealthy black family. That required lots of lush period pieces as well as clothing that showed the difference between wealthy blacks from the south and working class African Americans from the north. During a formal dinner scene, one character, played by Joyce Anastasia, was dressed in a gown with a large bow across the chest, the end running all the way to the floor (see above).
"[Joyce Anastasia] is hilarious and her character is so funny," Perrone tells us. "That dress was something I fought for because when I initially put the bow on the front, [the director] was convinced that that was just silly, but I was convinced in my mind that that's how it had to be. It was perfect for her character. When we got her in front of an audience, they loved it.
"It's my job to help visually tell the story and for that character, that dress told you a lot about her," says Perrone, who, originally from Utah, came to Houston in 2006 to work with the Houston Grand Opera.
Why she likes it: "There is nothing more satisfying to me than to sit in a theater and see my work onstage. I still remember the first time I worked on a show and how it felt to think people were going to see my work.
"On every show I do, I work with a lot of really talented people and together we come up with a cohesive piece of art that people can come and see. I do pay a lot of attention to the actor, to making them as good as they can -- or as bad as they can, if that's what their character calls for." Perrone loves shopping for costume pieces and relishes that "eureka" moment when she finds what she thinks is the perfect piece. "I feel it in my gut when a piece is right -- I know that sounds weird, but it's true. I love finding pieces, getting them on the actors and then having the actors use it. Just like that bow on that dress, it emphasized her character."
What inspires her: "The actors inspiring me. It's hard to read a script and visualize it so I really like going to rehearsals and seeing the actors as they're building their characters. That inspires me; it helps me to find a direction for that character that I may not have seen on the page when I read the script."
If not this, then what:"I can't even imagine," she moans. After a pause, she adds, "I used to tell people, if I wasn't a costumer, I'd be an economist, but really I don't know. I think economics are fascinating, but really I have a passion for theater and for the arts. I love creating something new every time I do show."
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If not here, then where: "I would like to live in Colorado, or Chicago, because there's a good theater scene there."
What's next: At the time of our conversation, she was working on four different shows: Cinderella for the Ensemble Theatre, From My Mother's Mother for HGOco, and Little House on Prairie for a local youth theater group. More shows are already on her schedule.
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