Colorado State University apparel design student, Callie Hartel, makes her OpenStage Theatre debut as the Costume Designer/Head Seamstress in "A Doll's House, Part 2"
Tell us about yourself! What’s your theatre background? How did you hear about OpenStage?
I am currently a 3rd-year apparel design student at CSU. I also work at the CSU costume shop. At the costume shop, I do builds and alterations for any shows being put on. We are currently working on "The Normal Heart" and "Tenderland." I heard about OpenStage just through reaching out to local theatres to find opportunities. I sent a message to OpenStage saying I was open to helping with anything costume related and I got a message back with an offer to assist Rebbeca Spafford with costumes for "Cyrano de Bergerac." I am now the costume designer for "A Doll’s House, Part 2."
What got you into costume design?
From a very young age, I have always wanted to do something related to clothing, designing, and constructing. I have found that I love the storytelling aspect of costume design. I am very interested in how the historical research aspect of costuming can be combined with the creativity of the mood of the show to represent the character through costume. As I have started working with costume design, my interest in it only continues to grow.
How familiar were you with "A Doll’s House, Part 2" prior to working on OST’s production?
Prior to working on the production, I had never really heard of "A Doll’s House, Part 2." That was actually more exciting in my opinion though, because I can fully immerse myself into OST’s production of it as I didn’t have an outside experience affecting my vision of the show.
What about "A Doll’s House, Part 2" interests you? Is there a special moment in the play that stands out to you?
The most interesting detail about "A Doll’s House, Part 2" for me is the strength and dynamic of each of the characters. Each of the characters has a unique perspective and opinion concerning Nora’s departure. As they each express that perspective, you as the audience almost have an internal conflict trying to decide who you side with more.
What project(s) are you working on next?
I am currently starting to work on my senior capstone clothing line to finish my degree. It is a 5-7 look collection that I create from ideation to patterning, to constructing all the way through. This will be done by the end of Fall 2023. I am also on the hunt for internships as a part of my degree as well.
What can audiences look forward to in this production of "A Doll’s House, Part 2?"
The audience can look forward to the artistic use of movement in this production of "A Doll’s House, Part 2." The show includes a lot of movement sequences that will help communicate the emotions being shown in the dialogue, which makes for a very creative and artistic rendition.
What is the importance of this show today?
This show, though it is based in a very different time, still creates an important commentary on feeling trapped in the role that is expected of you. Especially considering the traditional role of a mother and how she is expected to give up her freedom and her passions in order to prioritize her children. The show does a beautiful job of illustrating all the different people who are affected by this situation and how they are valid in their view.
What compelled you to work on this production?
As a young designer, I am open and eager to take any opportunity that is presented to me, especially the enormous opportunity for me to be the costume designer of a show. I think I became even more compelled and excited when I realized where it takes place. My family really enjoys embracing our Norwegian roots, so having the show be based in Norway was a really good way for me to feel more connected to it.
What is your favorite production you’ve ever worked on?
My favorite production that I have worked on was CSU’s production of "Spring Awakening." I only acted as a stitcher, but it was the first really big build that I constructed that I got to see in an actual show, which was very encouraging for me.
What is an interesting tip you learned about costume design in your career?
I think the most useful thing I have learned so far is that collaboration and listening are very important to being a good costume designer. It's collaboration not only with the director and their vision, but also with the actor. The comfort of the actor and their perception of the character is important to listen to so that they can perform with confidence.
Do you have any projects up next after this show?
Besides my projects to finish up my degree, I am mostly just looking out for the next opportunity. I hope to continue to costume for OpenStage if they see me as a good fit for another production.
By Lucas Hnath
Directed by David Austin-Gröen
March 3–March 12, 2023
Playing at The Lyric in the Tiki Theater