Jordan Harrison’s The Amateurs opens with God saying: "I, God, who all the world have wrought, Heaven and earth – and all from nought! – Now see my people, in deed and thought, Are lost in sin so bold." This is followed by the stage direction: " There is a parade of the Seven Deadly Sins in crudely arresting masks."
With this section of text, Jordan Harrison directly describes what this first scene should look like. His stage direction indicates that the actors are wearing masks that depict each seven deadly sin. It is the costume designer’s job to take Jordan Harrison’s stage direction and text and turn it into a reality. But how does one create seven masks that uniquely characterize the seven deadly sins, and what do you make them out of?
Pei Lee, the costume designer for The Amateurs, took inspiration from her own designs from The Little Mermaid, which Olney Theatre Center produced in 2014. For Ursula’s headpiece, she used a material called Fosshape, which is a non-woven fabric that molds and hardens when it is exposed to heat. She used this same material to make the masks in The Amateurs, and this fabric was perfect for this task.
Below is some of Pei Lee’s photos of her design and construction process.