Which Costume? Which Character?


Students will demonstrate an understanding of creating a character through clothing by recording their vision of a specific character’s costume.


Materials Needed

CD player or computer with speakers, 4 pieces of music, examples of costumes, pictures of people, character descriptions and lines


Lesson Directions


Anticipatory Set/Hook


Have music on when students enter the class, try to play something that is about clothes, such as “My Strongest Suit” from Aida.
Have the students now listen to parts of three different songs. Some possible songs to play are: A Beautiful Mess by Diamond Rio, Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole and Love is a Battlefield by Pat Benatar. After each song they must write down the answers to these questions:
What colors came to mind?
How did you feel as you listened?
What images came to your mind?
Ask some students to share what they wrote down.



Transition: Tell the students that today will be a continuation of the lesson from last class, but today they will be deciding what characters will wear. Discuss with the students the important things to look for when designing a costume: Gender (Male/Female), Era (when is play set?), Number of costume changes (adjustments to costumes, time to change), Personality( is the character bubbly?introverted?), Importance (for a principle character or ensemble), Class Ranking (Poor or rich?), Physical Appearance (how are they supposed to look according to script?), Character’s Activity (do they need to run, dance, sleep?)


Explain that the vision of the character that comes as one reads a script is very important. It is that person that the designer can see in their mind that they want to create.


Transition: Have the students get into groups of 2 or 3. Give each group a picture of a person they don’t know, make sure that there are at least two groups with the same picture.


Instruction: Tell students you want them to discuss in their groups what they think that person is like, strictly based on their looks. Have them discuss this for about five minutes and then have each group share. Compare the way two different groups viewed the same person.


Modeling: show the students pictures of different costumes from shows. Discuss with the class why they think the designer would have put the actor in these clothes. Base the discussion on the important things to look for mentioned earlier. If they are not familiar with the show, make sure to give some background.


Transition: Have the students go back to their individual seats. Pass out character descriptions.


Instruction: Give the students the character descriptions and selected lines from the play; it is okay if some of the students have the same character. Have the students write down what the character would be wearing, it can be just one outfit. They can also draw a rough sketch of the outfit, but it is not required for this assignment (it will be at a later time). They will need to address the “important things to look for when designing a costume” on their paper.



Have the students turn in their design ideas.