Monday, February 2, 2015

Genevieve Blogs: Ron S. McCan, Costume Designer for Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds

BACT Blogger Genevieve is back! This time, she was able to interview Ron S. McCan, costume designer for Three Little BirdsGenevieve is 12 years old and in sixth grade at Kensington Hilltop School. She loves theater and has been going to productions since she was three years old. Genevieve enjoys reading, writing, traveling, and playing piano. She lives in Kensington with her parents and two younger siblings. Genevieve just played Hamlet in her school play. She thinks BACT is awesome and everybody who works there really inspires her!

     Bay Area Children’s Theatre’s (BACT) has just started showing an amazing production called Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds. It is colorful, filled with expression, and very true to Jamaican culture and music. When I looked around at the rest of the audience, everybody looked so engaged, sitting at the edge of their seats, thinking, “What’s going to happen next?” The show was a perfect mixture of exciting, silly, and even just a little bit scary. One thing that really struck me was the amazing, detailed costumes that were designed by Ron S. McCan.
Ron S. McCan
     This is Mr. McCan’s first time designing costumes for BACT, and he absolutely loves it. Everybody there is really supportive and fun. This play, Three Little Birds, has actually been his favorite production that he has designed costumes for. It has fun music, and it just felt right for him. When Mr. McCan first found out that he would be designing costumes for Three Little Birds, he was so excited. He loves the work that BACT does. He likes how exciting it is for kids. He also thought that all the different bird characters were cool and fun.
     When he was a kid, Mr. McCan didn’t think that he would be a costume designer. He thought that he would be an actor. However, his mom was a costume designer, so that’s how he got interested. Now, he designs costumes and acts (and he likes both of them equally because you have to be creative for both of them). The most recent play that he acted in was called Jesus Christ Superstar. He also teaches high school. Mr. McCan is a Bob Marley fan. His favorite song by Marley is “Is This Love”, which is actually a song used in Three Little Birds.
     Ziggy and Nansi are the main characters. They are average, eleven-year-old kids. Because Mr. McCan is a high school teacher, he found his inspiration for these kids by looking at how his freshman students dress. He also based their costumes off nephews and nieces. He wanted them to look cool and colorful, but like normal kids. Mr. McCan knew that in Jamaica it is very hot. Other than that, people in Jamaica just dress like how we dress in America. So Mr. McCan dressed them the way we dress here, but in clothes that will keep them cool. Mr. McCan buys some parts of costumes and makes some of the costumes.
Anthony Rollins-Mullens as Duppy
     The hardest costume that Mr. McCan designed for Three Little Birds was Duppy’s costume. This specific costume took him the longest to make out of any other character in this play (it took him two whole months!). Duppy had big, glowing eyes, and had hair on the back. These were hard to create. Duppy had so many things that he had to do, and, to make it even more challenging, he had a big headdress. Mr. McCan had to glue every individual feather on to this headpiece. Actually, he had to do this for every bird costume in Three Little Birds. Mr. McCan gets his inspiration for costumes from pictures. He got a lot of inspiration for Three Little Birds by looking at pictures of Caribbean carnivals.
The cast of Three Little Birds
     Mr. McCan loved making many of the costumes for Three Little Birds. One of his favorites was Dr. Bird because he was modeled after the Red-Billed Steamertail Hummingbird which is the national symbol of Jamaica. He loves the bright colors. He also loved making Duppy because of the hair he stole from children and the glowing eyes. He liked Nansi because of her bright color scheme. Her shirt also played with cool shapes and patterns. He enjoyed doing Tacoomah, as well, because the actress who played her (Taylor Jones) really wanted a big headdress, which was fun to make.
     If Mr. McCan could design costumes for any production, it would be You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. It’s about kids, and it’s very cartoony, which means he could use colorful costumes. The most challenging play that he ever designed costumes for was The Mad Woman of Challiot. The reason it was so hard was because it took place in Paris in 1915, when there was a very specific style. Men had tuxedos and woman had to wear lots of wigs.
     Thanks for being such a fun person to interview, Mr. McCan! You love to imagine and create amazing things. I think he was the perfect costume designer for this particular production. Also, thanks to Min Kahng for organizing this interview. And, of course, thanks to the whole crew at BACT for putting on the amazing, creative, colorful production…Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds! I can’t wait for the next play!!!