A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Wardrobe for 27 Dresses

27 Dresses opened this week. I'm not sure if I got any screen time, as I haven't seen it yet. But so many of my friends had parts in it that I'm sure I'll recognize somebody.

The movie has scenes from many different weddings, and obviously, once you've played in one scene, they're not going to let you play a different role in another. I was in the 1986 wedding scene, which was a laugh riot. Plenty of opportunity for outlandish getups. The casting director asked us to bring along some wardrobe items, although they'd have plenty more to choose from there. I still have many items in my closet from 1986, so I brought along a whole wardrobe bag full.

The wardrobe mistress selected a floor-length teal number from my bag and told me to put it on. But when I returned to her for a wardrobe check, she nixed it. The outfit had been given to me by an Indian friend, and although it wasn't a sari or a shalwar kameez, it was a bit exotic. Too bad, as it was beautiful and fit perfectly. I had another teal number that I had actually worn to a wedding in 1986, but the skirt was a little snug. Wardrobe Lady didn't like the idea of pairing the top with a contrasting skirt, so she gave me a rather dull dress from her own stock instead.

Back in line for the third time, waiting for a final wardrobe check, I overheard a willowy blonde complaining about the outfit she'd been ordered to wear. "It's not dressy enough," she was saying to her friend. I leaned over and unzipped my wardrobe bag for her to see. "How about this number?" I asked her, pulling out the teal getup. "It's too tight on me; you might as well use it. If it fits you."

She was floored; acting gigs bring out the competitive worst in everyone, and acts of pure charity to strangers are not all that frequent.

"It fits!" she replied, and grabbed it to show to the wardrobe mistress. That lady was fine with the switch. The dress did, in fact, fit the actress, and with a monster ruffle, giant shoulder pads, and a color that screamed "look at me!" she was properly over-the-top, as befitted a 1986 wedding. Best of all, the director complimented her on her outfit; that's huge when you're an extra.

So maybe I didn't get any screen time. But chances are my dress did.

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