All posts by craffetto

Theater Lab: Final Preparations

We open this Friday and as we head into the last couple of rehearsals, the students are all working hard to tie up loose ends, and make sure the backstage work is fully integrated with the onstage action. I took some video and wanted to share it here so that you can see what we have been up recently in order to get these one acts ready for our audiences. Much of it is behind the scenes, but I’ve included a tiny teaser for 2 of the 4 plays. So get your tickets and we’ll see you this weekend!


Crafting the Costume Design

Located within the deepest depths of Scott Hall is an integral part of making theater magic at the Williston Northampton School. I am talking, of course, about the amazing Costume Shop. 


The costume shop at Williston consists of two rooms that are located under the main theater facility and technical production shop in Scott Hall. Ilene Goldstein is the costume designer for the Williston Theater and is the main presence within the Costume Shop. She runs an after school program within the Technical Theater afternoon program option where students learn sewing techniques in order to help create the costumes that are used in Williston productions. Ilene, however, can often be found in the costume shop most hours of the day working tirelessly on the amazing costumes that grace the Williston stage.

 Within the first room of the Costume shop anything from sewing machines to ironing boards and even a washing machine can be found and are used in order to make the costumes for the Williston Theater the best they can possibly be. In the second room is the Costume Closet, in which almost all of the costumes Williston has ever used reside. It is here that the journey of two new costume designers within the Theater Lab program begins. 

IMG_6954Roya Mostafavi and I are the two costume designers for the one act theater productions taking place this winter within the Theater Lab program. It is our job as costume designers to know the visions of all four directors, and to craft costumes that are suitable to the place, time, season, setting and theme of the director’s productions. Both Roya and I have only rudimentary sewing skills, so it is incredibly fortunate that we are not personally making the costumes from scratch for our various productions. Instead we must both dive into the many aisles and shelves within Williston’s vast costume shop and pull anything and everything that we feel would suit and fit an actor and their character. 

Gathering the costumes for all four of the plays being produced as part of Theater Lab has been a very collaborative process. The directors, Ilene, Roya and I have all had to come together in order to bring to fruition the visions of each director. Whether it was improvising a full clown costume or trying to find clothes to fit a high powered New York lawyer; the process of finding costumes for all four shows has certainly kept us all on our toes. Even within the extensive collection of the Williston Costume Shop some items have been too difficult to find. Luckily, just a five minute walk from the theater lives a small thrift shop by the name of The Parsons’s Closet. It was here the Roya and I were able to buy many necessary parts for the various costumes we were working on. Through the many on and off campus resources, and the amazing guidance of Ilene, Roya and I have almost completed every costume for the Theater Lab productions, and I must say I am very proud of our results thus far. 


Overall, it has been a very fun process having input into the costume designs of a theater production. When acting I never felt truly in character until I put on my costume, so it has been a great privilege to be able to create the vessel that will carry all of the actors into the imaginary world of their shows.  – Noah Jackson ’15

Theater Lab – A First Time Director’s Start

As part of our Winter Trimester production “Theater Lab,” I’ve asked Noah Jackson ’15 to write three posts about the process of producing a play from his perspective as a first time director and costume designer.  He has written the first of those and I have included it below.

– Charles Raffetto


I stared at the script blankly as if it were a pure white canvas ready to be transformed into a masterpiece. Everything from lights to sound and costumes went running through my mind as the prospect of a play turned into a reality. With the script as guidance, I was going to form a small piece of theater into something that was completely and totally my vision. These feelings were daunting to say the least, but I am sure my experience was one similar to what most first time directors go through. 

Through Theater Lab, a new after school program option accessible during the winter trimester, students gain insight and experience relevant to every facet of creating drama including designing, directing and acting.  I was one of the four students to take up the task of directing a small, three- to four-page play chosen through options given to us by our producer Charles Raffetto. 

It is fair to say that, through my experience as a director, I have gained a new-found respect for the resident Williston Theater Director, Emily Ditkovski. Directing has entailed so much more than I could have ever imagined and has been very different from the stereotypical “sitting in the audience with a megaphone shouting orders” archetype that people may think of when the word director is used. In fact, directing is such an interconnected experience when it comes to having to work with others. Through Theater Lab I have had to collaborate with student light designers, set designers, costume designers, stage managers and actors. It has been a very interactive experience in that we all work together to bring to fruition each others ideas. 

Overall, Theater Lab has been invaluable in guiding me to become a better director. There is no better experience than just throwing yourself into a project and doing the hands-on work that you need to know how to do. Even in the one month that Theater Lab has been going on, I have run rehearsals, built cohesion within the cast and blocked an entire short play. In the end Theater Lab has given me the tools to tackle the once daunting prospect of creating a Theatrical piece of art. – Noah Jackson ’15

Dreaming up a Fairy Tale

On Wednesday, we draw the curtain on Cinderella. Over the course of the Winter Trimester, director Annelise Nielsen has worked with 12 actors to bring to life this classic tale in a new way. Drawing from a variety of theatrical styles, our production features shadow puppetry, musical numbers, elements of British panto, and the magic flexibility of a dream. Cinderella

A simple playroom transforms into a small house, a castle, a forest, and back again as 11 girls are whisked away in their dreams into the fairy tale of Cinderella, by way of her fairy godmother. Walls come to life, chandeliers change color, and the very elements of the room find their way to being costumes. Magic is everywhere, powered by imagination and audience interaction.

Shows are Wednesday – Saturday, Feb. 19-22, at 3:30 p.m. in the Williston Theater. Tickets are free for Williston Northampton students, and $5.00 general admission. They can be purchased online or at the door. We can’t wait to share this story with you!

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Kabuki Makeup!

Today was our first time putting on the makeup for our upcoming children’s theater production of Wondrous Tales of Old Japan. The play is being produced in the Japanese theatrical style of Kabuki and this makeup is a traditional aspect of that style. February 18-23, 2013 at 3:30pm. Click here for more information and to reserve your tickets online. (photo credit: Rob Kimmel)