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Aida’s Highlight Is Its Fashion Show

Posted August. 24, 2005 03:01,   


The large scale musical “Aida” will begin on August 27 and will run for eight months, which is the longest run in recent memory for a local musical. The production team of the musical conducted its last rehearsal and showed the performance to some officials of the musical on August 22.

“Aida” is about love story between Ladames, an Egyptian commander, Amneris, an Egyptian princess, and Aida, princess of Nubia and forced slave.

Officials watching the musical were amazed at its fantastic lights and they laughed at the “spa” scene. The highlight of the musical is the “fashion show” scene of the first act, in which princess Amneris and lady attendants sing the song “The dress I wear is another myself.” The splendid feast of dresses was the subject of conversation among women in the audience even during the intermission.

Disney of the U.S. that holds the copyright oh Aida attached the condition that the “fashion show” scene shouldn’t be made public. Therefore, the fashion show scene was not included in the “press call” that introduced the highlights of the performance to the press and TV commercials. Why is that?

Aida’s Costumes Are Top Secret-

The condition made by Disney is a marketing strategy. The costumes include a dress that is draped with poisonous snakes and a grey trapezoid-like dress inspired by pyramids. Only the audience members who come to see the musical in person will be allowed to see the fashion show scene that is remindful of “haute couture” (high quality custom-made dresses).

The costumes match perfectly with the color of the stage because a costume designer Bob Crowly designed the stage, too. To coordinate the costumes and the stage, he designed both of them simultaneously.

Amneris changes into 12 dazzling dresses during the performance. Bae Hye-seon, who plays Amneris, said, “I feel like a real princess when wearing dresses made of top quality silk and decorated with crystal accessories.” Ok Joo-hyun, who plays Aida, jokingly said, “I think it is unfair that I only have two maid costumes.”

Some 300 costumes and about 60 wigs for the musical were all brought from Broadway to Seoul. The underwear for the actors was the only costume that Korean production team had to prepare.

The costumes brought to Korea from foreign countries need mending and fitting to make them fit Korean actors. The costumes for Ok Joo-hyun, whose good body shape is famous, did not need mending, making her western style body the issue of conversation among the staff. A Korean staff does the mending of the costumes, but a person in charge of costumes from Disney makes the final approval since the design shouldn’t be changed.

Silk Dresses Need Hand Washing-

The costume team consists of 12 people. It is important to keep the costumes in good condition for the performance period of eight months.

Baek Jeong-jin, head of the costume team, said, “Most costumes are made of thin silk and decorated with lots of accessories. They need delicate management. In particular, the costumes of Nubian slaves are so thin and they need to be washed by hand. The team is also in charge of laundry.

The underwear and white clothes that are easily smeared with makeup need washing every day. Other costumes such as men’s jackets are washed on Mondays when there is no performance.

All the dresses of the fashion show scene are not allowed to be washed and dry-cleaned in order not to ruin the frame of the dresses. Removable-lining clothes designed to absorb the sweat of actors are attached inside the dresses and they are washed. Since there are as many as 300 costumes, all 12 members of the costume team have to iron the costumes four hours ahead of the performance.

Sue-Jean Kang sjkang@donga.com