The Art of the Quick Change

by on June 16, 2015

  In a world of instant access to information, there there is something truly whimsical about being surprised (bamboozled, perplexed, hoodwinked) by an illusion of live theater Magicians never reveal their secrets, and the same cane said for the actors and actresses who magically transform from one outfit to another in the blink of an eye.

Photo Credit: Associated Press

Photo Credit: Associated Press

   How is it that we can be watching a performance onstage, and within seemingly only a few seconds, a freshly clad character stands before us? Shows like The Book of Mormon and —most recently seen at the Annual Tony Awards— The King and I are keeping the whimsy of the quick-change thriving.

   With a talented group of costumers and stagehands, the beauty and wonder of a sudden change of costume in a show adds multitudes of drama to a scene. Kelli O’Hara’s transformation from schoolteacher to elegant belle femme occurred in just under one minute. Watch the nimbleness of fingers and accurate speed of the costume assistants in her change:

    But don’t we see enough of this high-speed illusion stuff in movies? Yes, thanks to a great team of graphic specialists who spend hours crafting technologically-situated scenes. When watching a brand new dress appear out of one twirl, it doesn’t get much better than the real thing.