Reasons why I will never become a theatrical costume designer

The picture of Tara's little boy in a toga over at her funny Sticky Fingers blog reminded me of the day we sent one of our kids off to play a Roman in her junior school play but with the wrong costume.

It had been a big rush to get her out of the door and to the school for the evening's performance, for which she had rehearsed and practised so much we were sure it would all go like a dream.  We gave her the plastic carrier bag - one of those cheapies from the supermarket - which I was convinced contained her incredibly complicated toga costume of a white sheet and three safety pins (no, I never was that kind of mother), hustled her out of the door and over to school to prepare for the evening show. 

We came back for a while and sat at home having a cup of coffee as we weren't due to be at the school until later for the performance.  Then the phone rang.  It was one of the teachers from the school.  Did we realise that we had sent the wrong bag?  If we didn't get round to the school quickly with the right one, our very distressed daughter was going to have to perform as a Roman dressed in two loaves of wholemeal bread.  Any chance of a toga?

I raced into the kitchen.  There in the corner was an identical plastic bag containing the costume.  We got to the school  just in time to save our daughter from having to dress up as a bakery. 

At least white bread would have been more convincing as a toga ..... kind of ....

I was reminded of this story when Lady Gaga appeared in that costume made entirely of slabs of raw meat.  She said she'd done it on purpose.  Yeah, right.  I knew the real reason.


  1. Are you sure you weren't getting your plots mixed up. Acting on instructions to bring the bread in a plain carrier bag, sounds familiar...

  2. Ha ha ha! Oh that reminds me of the time I went to a sex shop and got the bags mixed up before the Christmas play... let's just say we had to changed the spelling of Scrooge slightly.

  3. Don't remind me of costume making - my husband was head of Drama at a succession of schools and I have made everything from a toga to the dormouse in Alice in Wonderland and back through the Cheshire cat to the crossbanded yellow stockings for Malvolio. We found most of the parents either wouldn't or couldn't provide - no-one sent us loaves of bread but one child did once turn up with a morris dancing costume!?

  4. So, you actually organised the sheet for her in the first place?
    No wonder you gave her the wrong bag after all that effort.

  5. If it had been Roman Meal brand bread (, that might have been all right.
    But in checking the "International Partners" I see that the UK is not one of those...

  6. Yes, Jee, this brings back memories of being given a pattern and some furry stuff and being told to make a sheep costume for (5-year-old) Daughter 1's ballet show. Yes, certainly. Um...

    I did it, though. She was the only sheep who actually fell over mid-dance, so it was a distinguished performance in its way. She has inherited my grace of movement, as you can work out.

    (I'm trying to think what would have been easier to transform into a toga and am coming up with tripe...)

  7. Martin - that is no doubt some cultural reference I'm just not getting ... help me out!

    Steve - I'm going to pretend I don't understand.

    Jee - I wasn't one that wouldn't provide. I just couldn't. The only piece of clothing I've ever made is a pair of jodphurs, but that was an accident, as they were meant to be flares and I sewed the legs on the wrong way up.

    Friko - I know - I sacrificed so much for my kids.

    June - how on earth did you get to looking that up?!!!

    Isabelle - a sheep costume? Easy? Here, child, climb into this giant packet of cotton wall balls.

  8. Sheet and 3 safety pins, eh? Probably that toga was the most authentic of any at the performance. Though might have been interesting to see a Roman bakery in action . . .

  9. Cultural, indeed, Fran. My fault for watching too much of The Sweeney, years ago. You know the line, with those dodgy kidnappers, "bring the bread in a plain carrier bag...and no funny business." Oh dear, I feel a tumbleweed moment coming on!

  10. Raining Acorns - yes, I quite liked the Roman bakery idea, too, but the daughter didn't. Strange ...

    Martin - I see, I see! Yes, I used to watch the Sweeney, but I didn't remember the line. I have a terrible memory for that kind of thing. People are always quoting lines at me and I don't have a clue. Thanks for filling me in, though!

  11. haha! Brilliant! I love it! And exactly, why else would Gaga wear meat?

  12. Many years ago in Spain , Youngest Daughter was one of a gang of five year old all-singing all-dancing builders for a school concert .
    On the night they all skipped on in proper grown-up plastic helmets and mimed to Madonna's "I'm a Virgin".
    No , the nun in charge couldn't speak English but recognised a good builders' tune when she heard it.

  13. Great story...but I'm still trying to figure out Steve's comment. Will someone spell it out for me?

  14. Haha!! Hilarious.

    Gaga's meat costume made me crave bacon, weirdly enough.

  15. Sandra - Lady Gaga's meat costume was the strangest thing. Not advisable on a hot day, anyway, or when working with wolves.

    SmitandSon - that's classic.

    Nana - not me.

    WW - yes, that is weird. You are right. I can't pretend.

  16. You could have said, 'My daughter texted me to ask me to provide her "with to...." and the predictive text spelt toast rather than toga....

  17. How funny! Thanks for giving me a smile...

  18. Oh, poor daughter. I'm glad she didn't have to do 'a Lady Gaga'.

  19. She could always have improvised as one of the the 'Three Kingsmills' hahahahahaha! (Don't laugh at your own jokes, BB.)

  20. Vintage Tea Time - I could have done, except that I'm 136 and my daughter is well into her 90s, so texting wasn't around in our day.

    Cassandra - that's fine. It's all part of the service.

    Carolina - me too, me too. We were very poor and couldn't have afforded steak rather than bread for the costume.

    brokenbiro - Ha ha, very amusing. And I'm not going to take your advice, because if I didn't laugh at my own jokes, some of them would fall very flat indeed.

  21. Oh, gosh, didn't realise you were so old. In that case perhaps daughter was sending you a morse code message and got her dots and dashes mixed up (as young ladies were apt to in the last century....)


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