“New clothes, new smells, new lights, new sounds”by Katie Paxton

Katie Paxton

by actor Katie Paxton

Katie plays four characters in The Making of a King, including Doll Tearsheet and Lady Mortimer.

“Inhabit your costume with utter familiarity, and make it work for you; after all, your character chose it in order to convey an image to the world.” –Maria Aitken

New clothes, new smells, new lights, new sounds. New floors, new shoes, new hair. The first day of technical rehearsals harkens back to my childhood: reaching into my dress-up trunk and seamlessly stepping into the characters I’ve created in my mind.

Katie Paxton as
Doll Tearsheet in Henry IV.
Photo by Jon Gardiner.

For me, a huge part of my process is my character’s clothing. My favorite part of tech is seeing the dressing room and feeling the fabrics of my costumes. What we wear is so indicative of who we are, whether we like it or not, and it is no different for the people in the Henry plays. Before we even started rehearsals, costume renderings were available to actors so that we could hit the ground running on character work. Costumes help the audience to identify individual characters while recognizing a common world the characters live in through the artistic vision of the Costume Designer (for this production, the lovely Jennifer Caprio).

During technical rehearsals, we are stitching together each individual artists’ work on and off the stage. The lighting designer, sound designer, costume designer, directors and actors each add a unique piece of cloth to the tapestry of our production.

The idea of putting it all together can seem impossible (Can this cockpit hold the vasty fields of France?)–but I was astonished by how our plays effortlessly slipped into the Paul Green Theatre like a pair of old gloves in my childhood trunk.

We teched through and ran each show in four days, which means room left to play, tweak details and explore before previews…who woulda thunk?! That has to be a record. If not, it’s certainly a testament to our phenomenal team of artists on this epic project, working day and night to tell the story of The Making of a King.

The Making of a King: Henry IV and Henry V runs January 28 to March 4. Click here for more information and tickets.

150 Country Club Rd, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, USA