A quick post on the art of the quick change. Now I’m not talking about the quick change artists who rely on magic and layers upon layers of clever costumes. This is not about the illusion of a quick change, but instead the basics of quickly getting out of one costume and into another!
Number 1: If it is at all possible, then get help!
The stress of this situation is often helped by having someone whose aim is to achieve the same goal of getting you dressed effectively and as quickly as possible!
They will make sure that every step is as easy as possible and that you are as prepared as you can be heading into it.
Number 2: Practice
This is where most people go wrong, don’t leave it to the tech rehearsal, it will go wrong and then you will be in a constant panic leading into it. Start before then with the bare minimum that you can do, and work from there. If there is a set amount of time or. A musical number that lasts 3 minutes aim to get the minimum done in 2 minutes 30. Go step by step until it is second nature.
Number 3: Think logically
When you are so focussed on an outcome, it’s sometimes hard to get the mind working in a logical order. Here’s an example… In the quick change for my current show I thought the best thing was to hold my mic pack in my hand, but this meant that I was then contorting and trying to change one handed and with a trailing wire in the way! Simple solution? Remove the mic and replace it at the correct point in the change, then I had both hands free!
Number 4: Be calm.
If you are calm and methodical, a “quick change” swiftly becomes a “change”. Again it takes practice but when you get there it is a great feeling to realise that there is nothing to worry about – it will happen!
Number 5: Be tidy and prepared
The tidier you are the easier it is. Have you space clear of junk or items that will get in the way of the job at hand. If you need to put gloves one insure they are the right way round and ready to slip on, have your shoes out, ready to go on your feet, and have any necessary make up open and ready to go!
& Number 6: Perspective
What is the worst that can happen? You go on not 100% ready, but your costume won’t affect your line delivery or your performance unless you let it. I have finished someone else’s quick change on stage by building it into the action as it was more important that the actor was on stage, than it was that they were in perfect attire!
Quick changes are a pain, but they can be fun… If you let them! These tips should serve any actor well, so feel free to share the love.
I’m off for a quick change so speak soon!