A Wild Party? Tools of the Trade!

A Wild Party? Tools of the Trade!


Our cousin Sharon is a wardrobe mistress at a leading classical Canadian theatre. But if you had seen her shopping list of supplies a few years ago, you might have thought she was in charge of planning a night of wild partying!

Topping her list were condoms, hypodermic needles and vodka. When she submitted the purchase order, it was enough to make the accounts payable department question her! So why did our quiet, hard-working cousin need such supplies?

The condoms had an important job to do in keeping the battery packs for microphones dry. In musicals, the performers wear a tiny microphone, usually on their forehead or cheek. Those mics are wired to a battery pack, worn on the performer’s back. If those batteries were dampened with sweat, they might not work. The batteries couldn’t be put into plastic bags that would crinkle and make noise, so they were squeezed into condoms: quiet, moisture-resistant containers. Then they were put into fabric belts and worn under the performers’ costumes.

Hypodermic syringes were perfect devices for spreading the tiniest amount of glue. If she wanted to re-attach a tiny bead or sequin to a costume, Sharon used the needle to produce a small drop of glue. It ensured an accurate amount of Crazy Glue when quick fixes were needed.

Vodka is used to keep those elaborate Elizabethan costumes odour-free. You can’t toss those gowns covered in lace, beadwork and layers of satin or velvet into a washing machine. But a little vodka on the armpits will remove perspiration odour.

Today, the condoms aren’t needed as the mics are built to resist dampness, and it’s now illegal to possess hypodermic needles. But vodka still arrives by the case.

A wild night of sex, drugs and booze? No, just the tools of wardrobe malfunction prevention!


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