The new version of “Cinderella” the Prologue opens with a lovely choral piece (cut from “South Pacific” incidentally) where we find Ella roaming the woods and picking up sticks. In a rapid juxtaposition, the scene changes to a “Rocky Glen” and we find the Knights engaged in battle with a “Giant”. The scene is described as ” the towering GIANT quickly takes the upper hand, throwing KNIGHTS left and right”. The original Broadway show, and the touring production that I have seen, include the Giant fight. The later Broadway version have the Knights running around, but do not include the Giant fight.
In the Broadway show the Giant is designed to look like a tree. You can see it here. We went along with that theme, and tried to create a “Tree Monster”, although ours is much less realistic! If I were to do it again, I might go for a more Ogre-looking giant, although the advantage to this is that the tunic and the hat can give bulk instead of having to do something padded for his head and arms.
Our Director wanted a tall Giant, and she had a young man audition who was comfortable wearing dry wall stilts. He practiced with them extensively after receiving the part, and was comfortable wearing them at a 24″ height. I would be cautious in using these if you did not have someone committed to learning to wear them, but, they did make a great Giant.
The stilts provide a little challenge in costuming as it affects the shape of the leg as the cast members feet stick out horizontally part way up. The legs themselves are also on back side of the stilts, not the center. It makes perfect sense, but in the first version of the costume, I just had him wear a pair of pants, and boot covers over the stilts, and it looked really stupid. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture, but it looked bizarre . . . even for a Fairytale Giant, sort of like his skinny bird legs came out of flowerpots . . . .
To begin making the boot covers, measurements were taken aroung the cast members foot while in the stilts. A preliminary pattern was made out of tagboard, and it was adjusted with tape and scissors to fit. This then went back to the volunteer who would create the boot covers using this pattern.
The covers themselves were made out of vinyl. They closed with velcro. They also attached to the pants with velcro. They were decorated with twine and vines to coordinate with the tunic. The white strip that is visible on the left is a fold-down cuff. The left picture is of the “boot” laid flat, and the picture on the right shows it velcro’d together as it would be when worn.
In version #1, the pants were a mossy green corduroy. When we decided they needed to be fuller at the bottom, we had to make do with what we could find in someone’s “stash”, so ended up using a lighter gray-green double-knit to fashion the bottom of the pants. The legs of the green pants were cut off, and the new wider ones were added. These velcro’d to the bootcovers. They also had a strip of velcro that Prince Topher used to attach his rope as he tied the Giant up.
The tunic was a revision of the Gargoyle costumes we had in “Beauty and the Beast”.
The tunics were a mossy green, with a brown cape-thing in the back, and a camo drape to make long wing-things. (This was not my best costume ever). One of my volunteers took the two tunics and combined them to create one with long sleeves. Pads were cut off some thrift store football pants to bulk up the shoulders. The camo drape was used for some of the decoration. This was supplemented with fake leaves, twine and bits of old ratty tulle that came off an old zombie tutu. Some of this was sewn on, and much was hot glued. (I was actually really thrilled to re-use this camo drape. I had spent more on it than I probably should have, and the costumes didn’t turn out they way I had visualized in my head . . . so this sort of justified my prior purchase.)
A hood was made from the same fabric as the pant legs to cover the neck of the cast member (otherwise it glowed very white under the stage lights).
A face mask was made by covering a green plastic mask with leaves. Using a mask allowed the cast member to quickly change costumes so that he could turn into a political figure for the Throne Room scene.
A hat was made by taking a costume hard hat and attaching a plastic ice cream bucket to the top. This was covered with leaves and twine.
The finished costume:
I think I would have liked solid brown legs better and gone for a tree trunk look instead of the boots. The tall hat gave him added height, and his hidden face made him more sinister. The hood was an important addition to cover his neck. Some dark gloves might have been a good addition for his hands, although I admit I notice his hands more in the still pictures than in the live action sequences.
The only thing purchased new for this costume was the green face mask.