The main premise of this post is, of course, "Hey, look at how great my kids and their friends are, putting on this play with just 8 days of rehearsal and doing a really amazing job!" But we'll divvy it up to look at the subheadings of Costumes, Set, and Performance.
Beatrice (played by Thalia), Hero, and Leonora were dressed in a bodice derived from Simplicity 3782. Click on pictures to enlarge to see more detail, if desired.
They had an underblouse of Butterick 5008. I left off the collar and used bias tape to finish the neckline, and then a hook and eye to fasten (Leonora has the original collar stand and ties). Also, velcro to fasten the sleeves.
The skirts and overskirts started out as some other Simplicity costume pattern, and segued into "how much fabric do I have, and how can I whack it up and sew it up to look okay?" since this was all donated fabric in random widths and lengths.
Margaret and Ursula (dressed in white in the center of the photo below) had a modified version of the blouse from Simplicity 3809, mostly raising the neckline in the front. They had muslin skirts and an overskirt, again made up on the fly.
Conrad (played by a girl) is on the left below, wearing another rendition of Simplicity 3809. Her pants were a pajama pattern I found in my stash, cut short, threaded bias tape through so she could gather them into a knicker look. In the middle is another member of the watch wearing a modified Simplicity 2689, and another pair of gathered-leg pants. The guy with the guitar is wearing a borrowed costume. He also wrote all the songs they sang, and is the father of one of the performers.
Dogberry is in Simplicity 3519 and a shortened pajama pant pattern. Verges/Oatcake (Annabeth) is in an OOP McCall's tunic pattern. (I love the expression on Annabeth's face here holding the lantern. Also, Ursula is doing double-duty in the watch here -- she has an orange shawl when she's in the watch.)
The director wanted to emphasize the difference in their sizes by making Dogberry's costume voluminous and Verges very narrow.
I didn't make the costumes for Don Pedro, Don John, Benedick, Claudio, Borachio, other than Don Pedro's shirt. Their shirts and vests came from Simplicity 4923. The pants were elastic-waisted pajama pant that was cut short for everyone other than Don Pedro. Elastic to gather the pants bottom, and also a pleat with a button to give them a more classy look.
The director wanted something evocative of Tuscany, but made in about 3 days by a bunch of kids (led by a very creative, talented adult) on a budget of pretty much nothing.
The Big Deal item was making a fountain out of a wading pool, a plastic pot, and a pump, which was put in center front. This was used by Benedick, of course, to splash in.
Okay, I'm just including this because it turned out so hilarious. The watch was following Borachio and Conrad around to eavesdrop on their scheming (Act 3 scene 3 maybe?), hiding behind this incredibly tacky looking "shrubbery" made from foamboard.
The sides of the set were made from strips of various gauzy fabric torn into strips and dyed. These functioned as the garden in which hid Benedick and Beatrice at various times.
For Hero's wedding bower, more strips of fabric were hung on the gazebo.
By the way, the large ferns hung on the gazebo (you can see them in some of the other photos) were used as attendance prizes -- all you had to do to enter was put your name on a slip of paper. There were other attendance prizes also, and raffles.
This year the kids had the privilege of working with Jim Butz, who conducted an acting class as well as performed the part of Don Pedro. In the scene below we're ostensibly seeing Don Pedro proposing to Beatrice, and Beatrice asking if he has any brothers. What we're REALLY seeing is Thalia thinking ZOMG this is Norbert Leo Butz's brother -- I wonder if he could introduce me. Well, okay, not really, but she did think it was funny that she said Beatrice's lines to Fiyero's brother, since she loves Wicked.
It was fascinating to see such a good actor working in this intimate setting, and have a chance to analyze why his portrayal of Don Pedro worked the way it did. I found myself noting how he made his entrances, for example -- you could literally see the energy ramping up as he moved from the wings (which were very visible) onto the set.
Overall, they all did an amazing job. They had a great time doing it, too. The director will have a hard time topping this, but she's already considering which play to do next June. (And, if you live around St. Louis and are between 10 and 18 years old, you can be part of it! Dayspring School of the Arts in Maryland Heights!)
I have some video clips, too, but haven't put them online yet so I can transfer them to here. Maybe later. I had an unfortunate tendency to turn on the video, and then just watch the play, so the actors wander out of the frame because I'm blithely ignoring what I'm taping, and I ended up with a lot of footage of people's feet or arms.