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By Dana Cadey
If you’ve ever been to a theatre production at Principia College, there’s no doubt that the performers’ costumes caught your eye. The outfits worn by the actors on stage play a vital role in immersing the audience in the story and setting of what is being performed, and Principia’s long production history has given generations of theatre-goers plenty to appreciate.
That’s why it might come as a bit of a surprise that our current costume department is headed by just one person: Leah McFall.
McFall, Principia’s theatrical and costume designer, has worked at Principia College for over 20 years. She also serves as the Creative Arts/Communications division head.
“My whole time in the costume shop, I’ve approached…through the eyes of a visual artist,” said McFall. “…My favorite shows [are] when I can create what feels to me like a work of art on the stage.”
McFall’s first Principia production to design for was Summer Brave, a play set in the 1950s. McFall said that she enjoyed choosing purses and hats from the costume department’s large selection to bring the ‘50s style to the stage.
“My approach is improvisational at times,” said McFall. “One of my favorite things to do is go to Goodwill and just sort of pull things that speak to me into my cart.”
McFall’s big endeavor for this semester was designing costumes for the upcoming production of William Shakespeare’s ‘The Taming of the Shrew.’ This play, set in early modern Italy, features a colorful cast of characters, and, in turn, colorful costumes.
“It’s going to be fun and lively…and hopefully lots of students will be able to come and see that show,” said McFall.
The Fall 2020 Arts Block will perform the ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ on November 12, 13, and 14 in the McVay Center for the Performing Arts. Each day will feature a 7:30 p.m. performance, as well as a 2:00 p.m. matinee on Saturday. Tickets for in-person seating as well as livestream viewing can be purchased at www.our.show/Shrew2020.