Friday, January 25, 2013

Interview with David Howard

Karen Carpenter as Pope Joan in Top Girls
For the last few years I've focused on my painting, and acting has had to take a back seat. I miss it. The particular type of community, trust and intimacy that is part of working on a theater production, I've never experienced anywhere else. A characters personality, relationship to others on stage, and their history can usually be seen in what they wear. Costumer, David Howard, is a master of stitching together a fabricated version of a characters soul. Energy off the charts, quick but incredibly thorough, diligent with homework, always a pro, David is genuinely kind from the beginning to end of a show. He manages being a professor of costume at URI, a resident designer at the Gamm Theater, and is often the glue that keeps us all together back stage and onstage. Here are David's answers to my usual interview questions and some samples of his wonderful work. To learn more about David's work and the upcoming production of Anne Boleyn, you can go the Gamm Theater site here.  
 What inspires you lately? Lately, I am caught up between Tudor history and modern looks. Two very different shows have my mind pulling in very different ways: it is strange. So, Hans Holbein and Alexander McQueen. Super Heroes and Daniel Mytens. I find myself inspired by a number of fabrics I already have and need to see the light of day, as they have been yelling at me to be used.
What was your first memory? One of my first memories was being fed eggs and crackers by my mother (1 year old, perhaps) and projectile vomiting. Never been able to touch eggs since.
Can you describe the best thing you saw on your last walk? The best thing on my last walk…I haven't had a good walk in a while, unless you count the walk I took around the Armory when I couldn't find an open door.
What are the five things that would make a perfect day of work?1) That you have enough material, and if not, Lorraine Fabrics still has more on the bolt. 
2) The serger doesn't break down
3) That I remember to clean as I go
4) It is awesome if something changes in my mind just enough to make the garment better…and it ends up working
5) I have enough time to eat something yummy
Can you describe the best pair of shoes you have ever owned? I own a lot of pairs of shoes. Sadly I only have 2 or three pairs that fit me, since most are purchased for productions. I did find (and still have) a great pair of grey sued and black leather two toned spectator wingtips that I got in Cleveland for $15. I used to wear them once and a while, but there have been many productions where they have found their way out of retirement.
What are you doing this weekend? This weekend: Well, we are starting up our first week of shows for ANNE BOLEYN at the GAMM, rehearsals and building clothes for METAMORPHOSES at URI, and classes began on wednesday, so it is a pretty packed work weekend. I did get around to cleaning my studio and packing up some of the extras from ANNE. I will try to take advantage of some sales this long weekend (gosh I hate shopping). Get my syllabi in order. I am going to try to get my laundry put away. Still some beading to do on ANNE. Researching LED lights for META.  
 All photos are of Gamm Theater productions, shot by Peter Goldberg 

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