minstrel: Slightly Off-Topic: Performance Garb

Heather Rose Jones hrjones at uclink.berkeley.edu
Fri Aug 22 11:05:14 PDT 1997

On Fri, 22 Aug 1997 GARNER at ADMIN.HNC.EDU wrote:

> Do any of you perform English Renaissance/Elizabethan repertoire in
> mundane settings where they want you in costume, but don't have a 
> scholar's eye for what "in costume" should really be?   (We're talking
> rich ladies' tea parties here.)  I find drop-dead authentic garb too 
> uncomfortable...most especially, I cannot STAND to have something 
> elaborate on my head while playing my harp.  I do, however, need to 
> hide an aggressively modern hairstyle [industrial strength spiking gel 
> is involved!].  Any brainstorms would be much appreciated.

Specific suggestions are difficult to make without knowing what gender you
are (sorry -- don't recognize your address). But I would like to start by
emphasizing that if you find a particular piece of highly-authentic
clothing uncomfortable, it is the fault of the particular garment, not of
authentic garments in general. Elizabethan people lived in these things
every day of their life -- if it's impossibly uncomfortable, it probably
_isn't_ authentic. Also keep in mind that a musician is at best a
middle-class employee, not a member of the nobility. Elaborate court garb
is counter-indicated for authenticity.

Headgear can be difficult. I've always had a minor aversion to hats
because I have a tendency to splitting headaches if I have too much
pressure on my scalp in places. But I've found that the more I acquire and
wear _comfortable_ hats, the less I notice them (and the more naked I feel
without something on my head). As you note, an excruciatingly modern
hairstyle can make all other efforts on the clothing useless. But headgear
doesn't have to be elaborate. For women, a coif can cover a multitude of
sins. For men, there are a variety of soft caps that would be appropriate.
You can be more comfortable wearing them for performance if you get in the
habit of wearing them casually a lot of the time -- perhaps particularly
when you're practicing.

Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn

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