Playing dress up with the wardrobe mistress of the Confederation Centre of the Arts, Karyn MacPhee
Photography and Story by Kimberly Rashed
As a former fashion student, I remember all too well my first trip to the wardrobe department of the Confederation Centre of the Arts. We were introduced to the Centre’s Wardrobe Mistress, Karyn MacPhee. We all wanted her job. All of us newbies thought it must be such a fun gig. Well, MacPhee has been holding that gig for 40 years now and her passion for the job suggests she’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
The G! Gang playing dress up at the CCOA
I was excited to have a chance to revisit the wardrobe department after so many years and decided to bring along some of my G! friends to play dress-up. After years of seeing numerous shows hit the mainstage at the Confederation Centre, we were all curious to find out just how it all really comes together so seamlessly (pardon the pun).
MacPhee relayed to us just how intense it can get. After the preview performance of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story this past September, it was discovered that the dress worn by Alana Hibbert in the Apollo scene was not suitable because the fullness of the skirt was not in keeping with Patrick Clark’s designs for the look of that era. Thus, a completely new dress had to be constructed for the next performance…that same evening. With no time to spare, MacPhee expertly crafted Hibbert’s new dress between performances. The dress was beautifully made, inside and out, because poor quality is just not acceptable!
The role of the Wardrobe Mistress does not end in the fitting room. She literally follows the garment right onto the stage, making knowledge of the inner workings of the show a big part of her job. Wardrobe staff must anticipate what “wardrobe malfunctions” might occur. They must be there for fast changes, sometimes hiding behind a strategically placed trunk or prop for quick access. And when the show packs up and heads out on the road, the wardrobe department goes along for the ride, packing and labelling each and every item of all the show’s costumes and a fully equipped workstation.
Need a bouffant? Honey Landry's your gal!
Not every show has the luxury of a designer who provides in-depth sketches or even fabric swatches. Sometimes the wardrobe department takes on this task and works hand in hand with the director to interpret the director’s vision. This calls for a whole new list of skills and talents as they design fabrics, hunt through thrift shops and pore over costume reference books to ensure the look and feel of the show is true to the era. Clearly, one of those talents is the ability to pay close attention to each and every detail.
Authentic means authentic from head to toe. Wig Mistress Elizabeth “Honey” Landry, takes on anything from a regular trim of the actors’ locks to the addition of, well, you name it. Need a bouffant? Honey’s your gal. The G! team also learned a bit about the fun and value of creative staging from milliner Nancy Hooper. A simple picture? No way! A jewelled crown, a bowler hat, fruit, feathers and other elements certainly livened up the souvenir photo shoot! As we left, Hooper was giving a pair of shoes a colour makeover so they were more in keeping with the show’s historical era.
The mistress in action - Karyn MacPhee
MacPhee says, “If you don’t love laundry, this is not the job for you.” Love? Is it possible to love laundry? I will quite frankly state here that I do not. In the wardrobe department, we’re talking heavy duty laundering, too. Every day. Ironing, too. Blasphemy! On double show days, you’ve got limited time to scrub away that make-up smudge; sometimes the ironing might be reduced to just the collar, cuffs and front if the actor wears a jacket and never plans on taking it off. But really, that’s not much of a consolation in my opinion. What ever happened to “Iron your own damn shirt”? I guess this just happens in my house…
These days, MacPhee shares her experience with the students of the School of Performing Arts program offered at Holland College. She says the work is much too exciting not to share. With definite hopefuls in the midst, she is excited about this new program. Her only fear might be the thought of losing these budding wardrobe geniuses to the stage itself.
Hectic yes, but MacPhee says she couldn’t imagine it any other way. “Leaving is unthinkable, but staying is impossible and the impossible is what we do (miracles take slightly longer)!”
She sums it up all too well.
Playing dress up with the wardrobe mistress of the Confederation Centre of the Arts, Karyn MacPhee Photography and Story by Kimberly Rashed As a former fashion student, I remember all too well my first trip to the wardrobe department of the Confederation Centre of the Arts. We were introduced to the Centre’s Wardrobe Mistress, Karyn [...]
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We wanted to know how Islanders celebrate the holidays with food. Quite frankly, the results made us hungry
Us foodies, we live for the next course. We anticipate the next great culinary creation that will have our taste buds singing with delight. Christmas is just around the corner and, well, for us hardcore types, it’s the Super Bowl of the food holidays.
Weeks (if not months) prior to the main event, many us can be found creating our Christmas dinner game plans, prepping our stomachs for the unending parade of treats and feasts that will inevitably leave us napping by the tree on Christmas Day. Yep, for a foodie, there’s nothing more festive than the sight of good food and lot’s of it!
Last month, we asked G! readers (and fellow foodies) via Facebook poll to tell us how they celebrate the holidays with food. What are they eating? When are they eating it? And do they have room at the table for us?
We were expecting to get some wild responses. We thought we’d find people who bucked tradition who, not unlike Ralphie and his family in ‘A Christmas Story’ opted for an unconventional meal out at a Chinese restaurant when things went awry in the kitchen, celebrated the season with something completely off the radar. In this technology driven era where we’re always looking for the next new and exciting piece of gadgetry, we thought all the foodies out there might be doing the same thing with Christmas dinner.
As it turns out, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Our G! Eats poll revealed that a big ‘ol traditional turkey dinner with all the fixins on December 25 reigns supreme for holiday eats. Sweets, sweets and more sweets came a distant second.
Apparently, mincemeat pies and dining out were not favoured by the masses, seeing as neither received a single vote.
We can’t say we disagree with the findings of this delicious, hunger-inducing poll. Whose stomach doesn’t growl in anticipation of the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce that will inevitably fill the dining room table? Fresh from the oven rolls, mustard pickles, homemade turkey gravy…are you drooling yet, because we sure are!
We couldn’t possibly give props to a traditional holiday feast without mentioning the grand finale, dessert. As stuffed as we always say we are after eating a great scoff of turkey, we somehow always find room for the piece (or multiple pieces) de resistance. In addition to the plum pudding, you’re guaranteed to find an array of pies, cakes, sugar cookies, peanut butter balls, and candy canes. Foodies can never pick just one sweet treat – variety is the spice of life. Be sure to load up the dessert plate with small portions of everything so no sweet goes ignored.
However you celebrate (or should we say, celebrEAT) the holidays, we hope you dine in the company of friends and family who share your love of all things edible and appreciate your tradition of wearing stretchy pants to the dinner table.
- G! Staff
We wanted to know how Islanders celebrate the holidays with food. Quite frankly, the results made us hungry Us foodies, we live for the next course. We anticipate the next great culinary creation that will have our taste buds singing with delight. Christmas is just around the corner and, well, for us hardcore types, it’s [...]
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Taking olive oil to a whole other level
By Ellen Egan
It’s safe to say that we Islanders don’t mind attending our fair share of wine and beer shows. But how many of us could say we’ve been to an olive oil tasting? My guess is not very many.
Chock full of antioxidants and supposed natural healing powers (forget the Echinacea), tasting the wide selection of fresh olive oils and balsamic vinegars at Liquid Gold Tasting Bar & all things Olive is truly an experience.
And, it won’t cost you that dreadful hangover.
For close to what you would spend on branded generic olive oil, who wouldn’t be open to a healthier way of incorporating the same classic flavours such as butter, garlic, and chipotle or unexplored tastes like espresso, pomegranate, and chocolate into their day-to-day cooking?
Liquid Gold store manager, Amy Ingram, hard at work
Taking over the former Clover Farm market space in the historic building on the corner of Queen and Dorchester in downtown Charlottetown, the boutique feels like a modern-day foyer in olive country. As we begin our tasting adventure (always free of charge), we are delighted to find ourselves under the guidance of Store Manager, Amy Ingram, and her equally knowledgeable and helpful employee, Tiara.
Ingram happens to be the daughter of Liquid Gold’s owner, Myrna Burlock, who first opened the Tasting Bar in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and helped bring this trendy spot to our beloved town. Her passion for sharing these unsung oils of the world is matched only by her outgoing and down-to-earth personality.
“The oils are pure, single fruits called cultivars, or are cultivars that have been deliciously flavoured,” says Ingram. “In spring/summer, our olive oils come from the Northern hemisphere and the Mediterranean. In the fall and winter, our oils come from the Southern hemisphere—so you know you’re getting the freshest oil for that time of the year.”
In fact, the fresher the oil the more nutrient-rich it is. Some oils here are as young as seven weeks old. And you don’t have to worry that they’ve been sitting on store shelves for months on end. Stainless steel containers called fusti (direct from Italy), comparable to mini kegs, keep the oils and vinegars cool and hidden from sunlight for optimum preservation.
Ingram says they always encourage people to taste and assess many olive oils so they can educate their palate in order to find just the right oil that gives them the most satisfaction.
Inside Liquid Gold Tasting Bar in Charlottetown
“Aesthetic notes of fruity, nutty, grassy, peppery, and many others are there in varying balance that give complexity to the oil and appeal in different ways to each person,” says Ingram. “That’s the fun part—when someone finds one that really knocks their socks off. We’re all unique in our taste experiences and preferences.”
But the venture doesn’t stop there. After trying out a variety of palate-intriguing oils, we’re free to explore the abundance of explosive dark and light balsamic vinegar selections, all hailing from Modena, Italy.
Liquid Gold also carries an impressive selection of tantalizing products like mustards and glazes, stuffed olives, and Italian pastas. And if you’re as indecisive as I am, you’ll want to take your time choosing and consider what you’d like to simmer it in, pair it with, or spread it over.
So, why not take a detour on your way to the grocery store and try out the greatest thing since the microbrew?
Check out photos from the G! Tasting Party at Liquid Gold by clicking here!
Happy eating (and tasting)!
G! Eats contributor Ellen Egan serves up her take on where Islanders are eating (and tasting) each month in G! Sadly, still no doggie bags.
Photo credit: Ellen Egan
Taking olive oil to a whole other level By Ellen Egan It’s safe to say that we Islanders don’t mind attending our fair share of wine and beer shows. But how many of us could say we’ve been to an olive oil tasting? My guess is not very many. Chock full of antioxidants and supposed [...]
Read more »