By Mary Erickson, Ph.D. with Rebecca R. Akins, costume designer
Merely Players is a four-lesson unit plan designed in conjunction with the Merely Players exhibition at the Gallery at Tempe Center for the Arts.
Lessons one and two can be used with students of various ages. Lesson three is specifically designed for elementary or middle school grades. Lesson four is designed for high school.
- Theme in Life: We all costume ourselves for the different roles we play from day to day.
- Theme in Art: Designers develop costumes that define players as characters.
Lessons approach the themes through three key questions.
LOOK: What colors, textures and patterns do I see?
|CHOOSE: What colors, textures and patterns will I use in my design?|
|EXPLORE: What ideas can I get for my design from other arts or designs? (high school)|
How we dress and how we see others dress expresses who we are and what roles we are playing. Costumes range from traditional ethnic dress, to ceremonial outfits, to sports gear, to business wear. In our everyday world, we see people wearing uniforms so they can be quickly identified, for example, police, firemen, operating room nurses, restaurant servers, bus drivers and crossing guards. Theatrical costumes are specifically designed to define characters within a theatrical production. In the Phoenix area theatrical costume design plays a key component in productions of companies such as Childsplay, Arizona Opera, Ballet Arizona, the Southwest Shakespeare Company, and the Phoenix Theater. Costumes help create the realistic or fantastical world of theatrical performances.
One: Playing a Part
Merely Players Exhibition Preview (PowerPoint)
Dressing the Part (PowerPoint)
Costume items (such as sports, safety or recreational helmets, shoes, uniforms or gloves)
Ethnic or special occasion clothing (such as cap, scarf, boots or jewelry)
One-size-fits-all costumes or accessories (such a cowboy hat, brightly-colored scarf, walking stick, or cape)
Questor Questions about Costumes worksheet
Three: Dressing a Dream
Dressing a Dream Lesson 3 (PowerPoint)
The Fairies of A Midsummer Night's Dream (pdf)
Male costume template (pdf)
Female costume template (pdf)
Fabric swatches of various colors, patterns and textures (or alternatively samples clipped from fashion magazines or scrap booking papers)
Staplers to be shared among several students
Four: Dressing a Dream (High School)
Dressing a Dream Lesson 4 (PowerPoint)
Male costume template (pdf)
Female costume template (pdf)
Fabric swatches of various colors, patterns and textures (or alternatively, samples clipped from fashion magazines or scrapbooking papers)
Colored pencils or other colored medium
Elementary Arizona Visual Arts Standards
VA.CR.1.6a: Combine concepts collaboratively to generate innovative ideas for creating art. (Lesson 3)
VA.PR.4.6: Analyze similarities and differences associated with presenting two-dimensional, three-dimensional, and digital artwork. (Lessons 2 & 3)
VA.RE.7.6a: Use art-specific vocabulary to identify how artworks/artifacts made in different cultures reveal the lives and values of the people living at that time and place. (Lesson 1)
VA.CN.11.5: Analyze how art reflects changing times, traditions, resources, and cultural uses. (Lesson 1)
Secondary Arizona Visual Arts Standards
VA.CR.2.HS2b: Use art media with skill, purpose, and craftsmanship; and demonstrate awareness of ethical implications of making and distributing creative work. (Lesson 4)
VA.PR.5.HS2: Evaluate, select, and apply methods or processes appropriate to display and preserve artwork in a specific place. (Lesson 4)
VA.RE.9.HS2: Determine the relevance of criteria used by others to evaluate a work of art or collection of work. (Lesson 2)
VA.CN.10.HS2: Utilize inquiry methods of observation, research, and experimentation to explore community concerns through artmaking. (Lesson 4)
English Language Arts Standards (Lesson Two)
ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R4 : Interpret words and phrases [or visual qualities] as they are used in a text [artwork], including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word [or visual] choices shape meaning or tone.
ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.4: Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6–8 texts and topics.
ELA-Literacy.RST.9-10.4: Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 9–10 texts and topics.
ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R1: Read closely to determine what the text [artwork] says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual [visual] evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text [artwork].
ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.1: Cite specific [visual] textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts [artworks].
ELA-Literacy.RST.9-10.1: Cite specific textual [visual] evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts [artworks] attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions.
ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.9: Analyze how two or more texts [artworks] address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors [artists] take.
ELA-Literacy.6-8.RH.9: Analyze the relationship between a primary and secondary source on the same topic.
ELA-Literacy.9-10.RH.9. Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in several primary and secondary sources.
ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W1: Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts [artworks] using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.2f: Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented.
ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.2f: Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented.
- Merely Players Exhibition Preview (PowerPoint)
- Dressing the Part (PowerPoint)
- Costume items (such as sports, safety or recreational gear; helmets, shoes, uniforms or gloves)
- Ethnic or special occasion clothing (such as cap, scarf, boots or jewelry)
- One-size-fits-all costumes or accessories (such a cowboy hat, brightly-colored scarf, walking stick, or cape)
- Questor Questions about Costumes at the Tempe Center for the Arts (pdf)
- Dressing a Dream Lesson 3 (PowerPoint)
- The Fairies of A Midsummer Night's Dream- Short Summary (pdf)
- Dressing a Dream Lesson 4 (PowerPoint - High School)
- Male costume template (pdf)
- Female costume template (pdf)
- Male and female templates (pdf)
- Fabric swatches of various colors, patterns and textures (or alternatively samples clipped from fashion magazines or scrapbooking papers)
- Colored pencils or other colored medium
Mary Ann Bailey
Lesson One = 15-30 minutes
Lesson Two = Field Trip
Lesson Three = 50-100 minutes
Lesson Four = 150-200 minutes