The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland production of Cabaret in the Athenaeum Theatre, designed by Kenneth Macleod and Directed by Andrew Panton. 2016.
Gorilla costume ‘Her’ created by Leah Kurzepa.
‘Her’ was made mostly with latex and built on to the plain black fur suit that we already had in stock.
A little bit on the making of ‘Her’:
The face was sculpted in oil-based clay, as close as possible to the reference photo.
Sculpting is one of my favourite things to do, and with oil based clay the benefit is that it doesn’t dry out like water-based clay so you can leave it sitting for as long as you want and it will still be in good shape. The downside about it is that its a bit harder, so it can take longer to work with (but a heat gun/hair dryer ca
n soften it quite well and make it easier). It smooths down with white spirit or lighter fluid and I find I can get really intricate details that I just can’t with water-based clay.
I buy the NSP medium type from MB Fibreglass.
I then made a fibreglass mould of the sculpt, and cast into it with latex. Muslin imbedded in the latex made it much more rigid and strong.
Next, I built the head up over a bike helmet with varaform to give it a shape and add more bulk. Onto it, I glued and stitched the latex face. In order to let the actress see better, I cut a hole inside the mouth and under the chin, and covered it with muslin. It also let her breathe a little easier.
The fur suit that I used was one that had already been made and used previously for a bear costume. We still had quite a lot of the same fur left, however, and I was able to use it to make the feet, hands and to cover the head too.
The ears, hands, feet and belly were all made out of latex and upholstery foam and stitched on so they could be removeable.
To date, it’s still one of my absolute favourite things I’ve ever made.