The Free Press, Mankato, MN

May 16, 2013

'In Stitches': Bethany theatre costumes on display

By Tanner Kent
tkent@mankatofreepress.com

MANKATO — Actors, please do Emily Kimball a favor:

Put the food down.

"Never," said Kimball, who is a Bethany Lutheran College theatre graduate who returned to the college last year to work as the costume shop manager. An exhibit of her costumes, crafts, design renderings and sketches from recent Bethany theatre productions will be on exhibit through May 29 at the Twin Rivers Council for the Arts Gallery. "Actors should never eat in costume."

But being resolute about raiments has served Kimball well.

Originally from West Salem, Wis., Kimball graduated from Bethany in 2010. She then went to work at the New London Barn Playhouse, a summer stock theatre in New Hampshire, first as an intern and then shop manager. She also worked for Meadow Brook Theatre in Rochester, Mich.

Once back at Bethany, she presided over the costume design for such productions as "Peter Pan," "H.M.S. Pinafore" and "Hamlet."

In the latter, Kimball's costume design was firmly grounded in the psychologies of Shakespeare's characters. Sleek, smart suits for the conniving Claudius, tatters and rags for the disturbed Ophelia, brash and whimsical colors for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

"Clothes reflect so much of who you are," Kimball said. "I want everything in my costumes to seem character-supported."

Kimball said she enjoys the practical nature of her work, from sewing hems to fashioning costumes from unlikely materials. She said the job demands an ability to synthesize with the creative visions of others as well as maintain an eye for detail.

But most of all, Kimball said she's glad to have returned to Bethany.

"I'm back where I belong," she said.

The reception for Kimball's exhibit will be held 5-7 p.m. today at the gallery, 523 S. Second St.