Costuming BakerCurtain Call for the Baker of Madrigal

"The Baker of Madrigal" is a new adaptation of Jose Zurilla's "Traidor, inconfeso y martir" by Jeffrey Bersett. The play was first produced in the Spring of 2004 by Theatre Westminster with Scott Mackenzie directing, Michael Slane on lighting/set design, Andrew Ade as Dramaturg and myself, Sandra Webster, on costumes.  The play is set in Spain, 1594.  Phillip II is King of Spain and the Netherlands.  He also rules Portugal because its King Sebastion died on the battlefield  without a successor.  Zorilla's original play was written in 1849, in verse, for a very different audience. This adaptation  focuses  on the personal more than the political. It explores individual  and family development  that result from an investigation of rumors that a baker from the town of Madrigal is actually the King of Portugal, believed to have been killed on the battlefield many years earlier. 

Costuming as Research Design

My main expertise as a psychologist is in research design and statistics.  Designing and conducting good research (and costumes) is a sequential problem solving process.  It's steps include:
  1. Conceptualization-- What should the costumes do for this play?  What does the director want conveyed through the costuming? What aspects of the characters need to be demonstrated through the costumes?
  2. Analysis -- What resources are needed? Where can they be found?  What's the budget?  What is essential for the play, its period, and the actors?
  3. Strategy Selection:  What's the best way to produce the concept given the resources and constraints?
  4. Execution:  Building the Costumes.
  5. Evaluation:   Do the costumes work in the play? What improvements should be made for the next time?

Costume Portfolio

The portfolio includes original concept sketches, links to historical models, technical details and photographs of the completed costumes in the production.


Helpful Internet Links


The photographs of the costumes on these pages were taken by my husband, Ronald Webster.  He and my son Phillip also assisted with all the hundreds of eyelets in the costumes and farthingale construction.  Two student costume assistants were especially helpful, Tara Savage who sewed more than anyone but me and Amber Scalfari who learned to sew, painted lace and made shoes.  I was also assisted duing the final week by my freinds from  First Baptist Church of New Castle, Becky Cole, Debbie Puth and Penny Lawrence.  My mother, Lu Pruitt, provided advice and access to much of the cloth and leather used to build the costumes.    Our director, Scott McKenzie,  allowed me to make all the costuming decisions, but he was always quick to answer my questions so that the costuming could fit his vision of the play.  The author, Jeff Bersett, wrote a great play with intriguing characters to costume.  It was exciting to work with the writer and dramaturg, Andrew Ade, as the play was revised, edited and polished.  Thanks, Jeff, for not adding the dozen dancing girls from Venice two weeks before show time.  Mike Slane worked closely with me at the initial stages of conceptualization so that we could have costuming that worked with the lighting and set design and all be "off a piece."  The student actors who wore the costumes with such enthusiasm were a great inspiration to me.  Finally, I must acknowledge Janet Arnold whose published works on historical costume are so accurate and complete.  They are a joy for the scholar and seamstress.

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