Becoming Elsa

Photos by Rachel Duff.

Dangerous Beauties, a collective of which I am a member, presented a show on November 19th  at Brava Theater in San Francisco. The whole show was a blast! One of my performances had a special place in my heart because it was really for my young nieces, who are huge fans of Frozen, especially Elsa. Check it out!

My dear friend Surreyya and I were talking about characters for our fairytale-themed show and decided to cast a rather large net for ideas. Surreyya had seen a hilarious YouTube video of drag queen Tastee Freeze (a.k.a Seth Hancock) doing a drag version of “Let It Go,” and suggested I would make a great Elsa. I watched the video and thought it was brilliant! We have to get very creative with costuming and sets, as we certainly don’t have the budget to pull off an act quite like that of Ms. Tastee Freeze.

I decided my Snow should be visibly frustrated with trying to keep up with my narcissistic Elsa character. I wanted someone who was shorter than me, could be very expressive, and who was both fun and easy to work with. My very talented friend Tatyana was a perfect fit! I also wanted to use the full-length version of the song from the movie because my nieces know all the words, and I wanted develop the relationship between the characters a bit to make it a duet from beginning to end. In the movie, Elsa slams a door at the end of the song. I added that sound effect to the music track so my Snow could collapse with an audible thud.

Original dress before cutting.

The costuming was fairly simple but had its challenges. Elsa’s sequined dress is easy to find on the Internet, so I started there. When purchasing costuming with the intention of cutting it and creating a new costume, it’s difficult to justify spending much money. The dress I purchased was very thin and had no lining behind the sequins. It also had long sleeves made from fabric that didn’t breathe well, so I had no coverage where I needed it and too much where it didn’t matter. It also seems the manufacturer didn’t account for the V shape on the front of the skirt, because the skirt was significantly longer in the front, producing a tripping hazard. Cue my scissors!

I am not a professional costumer; just a “do it yourself-er.” I used nude undergarments as the base for the bra and skirt to solve the problem of the sequined area being so transparent.

 

Finished costume.

 

I had an old pair of Isis wings that were just waiting to be repurposed. I cut the cape that came attached to the dress and replaced the bottom portion of the wings with the cape material. I then added elastics for my wrists and converted the lower part of the sleeves to gauntlets, and attached the cape to the neck of the bra.

I am so grateful to Tatyana for joining me on this project and am honored to co-produce and perform with Dangerous Beauties.

 

Wings with cape material added.

Thanks for reading!
Namaste

 

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