Christa Obergfell was honoured with the best costumes award last Saturday, during the awards banquet wrapping up the Theatre BC Mainstage provincial drama festival in Kamloops.
Obergfell spent almost a year designing, and with help from Shelley Tazelaar, sewing the 21 costumes, complete with accessories such as purses and hats, for the Studio Theatre’s production of Sense & Sensibility.
“It’s all done for the love of theatre, the volunteer work is well worth it,” smiles Obergfell.
Director Becky Strickland noted how the costumes were instrumental in the overall success of the play.
“The costumes Christa made were so well done that when the actors would put them on you could see them really become and portray their characters at another level,” said Strickland. “The actors liked wearing the costumes and the boys loved the formal dress.”
The Williams Lake Studio Theatre’s production of the classic Jane Austen novel adapted to playwright by Jon Jory debuted on April 30 and was performed a total of 16 times. Their final performance July 4 at Mainstage in Kamloops festival caught the eye of adjudicator Kathryn Shaw and was very well received by audiences.
Sense & Sensibility was one of nine plays performed from various studios across the province and it was a huge honour to bring home three provincial awards. Along with Obergfell’s best costume award, Sandi Alaric, who played Lady Jennings, won best supporting actress and Jenny McPhee, who played Marianne Dashwood, won best youth actress (under age 25).
“The most difficult part in creating the costumes was finding the correct patterns to fit this regency period during the 1800’s,” explained Obergfell. “Finding the fabric also proved difficult, I’m used to sewing clothes not costumes and using modern fabric. Luckily, I was able to find some fabric locally but I had to travel to Kamloops and Victoria to look as well.”
Obergfell said Becky first came to her with the script last July and they discussed what they wanted the characters to look like.
“She basically gave me a carte blanche,” Obergfell said. “I started sewing all the items that didn’t need fitting right away and by February we had the cast picked so I began work on their costumes.”
Obergfell, a Williams Lake resident since 1980, has now been retired five years from her job as a Registered Nurse.
“I’m new to Studio Theatre and joined in 2009 after retiring from nursing.
“I knew I eventually wanted to get into theatre since I had been sewing all my life,” adds Obergfell.
“I saw an ad in the paper that the Studio Theatre needed sewers for the play titled The Clumsy Custard Horror Show and I have been involved ever since.”
Obergfell is also an avid gardener and her house on Slater Street hosted nearly 200 guests as one of nine venues on last weekend’s Williams Lake Garden Tour.
She stays very busy in her retirement balancing hobbies such as gardening and sewing.
“There’s a lot that goes into costume making — not only with patterns and styles but getting an idea for how the actors feel and move in the clothing and how the audience perceive them,” said Obergfell.
“For example with Sense & Sensibility during that time period long pants has just came in and they ended at the ankle.
“If I made the pants authentic that ended at the ankle everyone in the audience would think the actors pants were too short, so I take some liberties.”