Costume Design student spending summer with Seattle Children’s Theatre

Friday, July 28, 2017

Laura Gonzalez sits in a wooded areaLaura Gonzalez always knew she wanted to be a Longhorn. Her mom is a graduate of the McCombs School of Business, and during her theatre classes at Anderson High School, the Austin native got the chance to partner with the Department of Theatre and Dance for performances of theatre studies productions.

“It just bloomed from there,” she said of her burnt orange love.

Now preparing to enter her junior year studying Theatre and Dance with an emphasis in design and technology, Gonzalez is blooming once again, but this time it’s her talent.

This past spring, Gonzalez designed costumes for the department’s production of Luna, a play directed by Roxanne Schroeder-Arce, assistant professor in Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities. It tells the story of Soledad, who has trouble making friends as she moves from school to school, and finds comfort in the moon.

“It was a really fun and exciting process,” Gonzalez said. “It started off with a lot of (online) research. Roxanne wanted to be representative of the experience of migrant workers. That was one of the longest parts of the process—doing research and understanding that lifestyle so it could be put on stage accurately.”

A costume sketch of the character Soledad in LunaBut work didn’t end for Gonzalez this summer. She picked up two internships in costume shops. She first designed costumes for Reformation, The Musical, a joint effort by Austin-area Lutheran churches to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Now, she’s in Seattle, Washington, interning with the costume shop of the Seattle Children’s Theatre. In just eight weeks, Gonzalez will work on the theatre’s five summer productions.

“The really fantastic thing about this program is that it’s really, very much a learning environment,” she said.

And because of the fast pace, she’s learning to move quickly as well—such as making 26 duck hats for the rubber duck chorus in Mario and the Comet, which just so happens to be written by fellow Longhorn Gabriel Jason Dean (M.F.A., Playwriting, 2012).

“Something I’ve really loved is having the opportunity to do impromptu design,” Gonzalez said. “For example, the character Caliban in The Tempest needed a hood. They asked if I could make a hood with a seam in the back. That was really fantastic, because I got the freedom to play with who I thought the character would be and then got guidance.”

Her summer in Seattle will wrap up with a production of Ragtime, the largest show of the summer.

“I’ve never seen it or read it, so I am really excited to have a new production to work on. I’ll also be wardrobe dresser for that one and I haven’t done that as well,” Gonzalez said. “It’s nice that it’s at the end so I can keep that excitement all the way through.”