Getting Ready for “The Little Mermaid”
By Ruth Milne
Acting and singing are all part of telling a story, but it’s the costumes that often make a play come to life. Mrs. Madeleine Chapman, a teacher at Northfield Middle High School, has been creating costumes for the school musical for over twenty years, along with the help of Susan LaValley and Northfield students. When she first learns what the play will be, Mrs. Chapman takes a look at other productions of the play, to see what their costumes look like on stage. In the case of “The Little Mermaid,” she also watched the movie. However, the costumes always have originality. “I love to make them my own,” Mrs. Chapman says. Then, taking into account color schemes, quick scene changes, and the available resources, the costumes are planned.
Northfield is very resourceful, often reusing costume pieces from year to year. The jacket for Grimsby (the guardian of Prince Eric) was originally used by Fagan in “Oliver” and again by Cogsworth in “Beauty and the Beast.” In the case of Sebastian and Flounder, Mrs. Chapman wants their costumes to resemble the original animated characters closely, to give the show a feeling of familiarity for the younger audience members. However, other costumes were created specifically for Northfield’s own production, such as the mersisters’ outfits, designed by NMHS Senior Abby Detrick. Even these costumes are made with materials and fabrics already in the school’s stash or found at thrift stores. Mrs. Chapman says resourcefulness is definitely something Northfield can take pride in.
The dates of the performances of “The Little Mermaid” will be April 6th, 7th, and 8th.