By Rogelio Alvarez
“Tartuffe: Costumes and CTE Technology” showcased the collaborative process in the making of the East Los Angeles College Theater Arts Department’s production of “Tartuffe” at the Vincent Price Art Museum.
The costumes and parts of the stage set were created with Cutting Tool Engineering (CTE) technology, such as a fabric printer and Computer Numerical Control (CNC) router. “We have a joint-agreement with the Architecture and Engineering Departments.
The CNC router was purchased on a grant in conjunction with those other departments. So we make an effort to fund student workers so that the student workers from the architecture and engineering can come over and exercise their knowledge on the machine that we funded as a joint project,” said ELAC Theater Arts Department chair Michael Kasnetsis.
The CNC router is a computer controlled cutting machine used to cut hard materials such as wood, aluminum and plastic.
The costumes and stage set were produced by a cooperative effort between students and faculty from multiple departments. “I was working with student designers. Because it was so complicated, most of the design was done by faculty, except for makeup design, but the execution was totally student-driven,” said “Tartuffe” director James Buglewicz.
Elegant 17th century-inspired costumes were displayed on mannequins. Each costume included a sketch with the name of the character and fabric samples. The mannequins also wore huge colorful wigs. Each costume on display was pleasant to look at with soft-tone colors and geometric patterns. The costumes were produced using the fabric printer. Students enrolled in Technical Stage Production 363: costume textile design with dye, print and paint sewed and tailored the costumes for the actors.
“Some of the things that we were assigned to do was cutting the fabric, creating patterns, stitching the garments together or altering them and having to fit actors into the garments,” said student designer Priscilla Maturino. Maturino said the most difficult part in creating the costumes is avoiding mistakes.
“In sewing, if you stitched it the wrong way, you have to take it all apart and redo it, and it’s a pain in the butt. You’ll sit there for hours. I’ve sat there for hours,” Maturino said.
Also on display was one of the columns inspired by 17th century architecture. The columns were created using the CNC router. “It’s my favorite period to study in architectural history,” said set designer Lisa Hashimoto Stone. The column was overshadowed by the extravagant costumes.
The exhibition was very informative and helpful with explaining the creative process behind the costumes and stagecraft.
Due to limited spacing, the exhibition did not feature many props from the set. The most notable prop was the makeshift harpsichord piano with fake keys. “At first we thought we’d rent a harpsichord or go find one that’s decent and then we thought it was way too expensive.
We have been using the electric piano for rehearsal so I said, ‘why don’t we just build a harpsichord?’ What we did for the performance was simply wrap the electric piano in that harpsichord.
It looked like an actual harpsichord,” Buglewicz said. “Tartuffe: Costumes and CTE Technology” was on display last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday only.