Spring Awakening may be fast approaching its opening night, but that doesn’t mean those not involved
are taking it easy. For Conor McMahon ’14, this semester marks the completion of his Senior Project,
developing an entire set of costume designs for the classic Sondheim musical, Sweeney Todd!
With plenty of years of experience with designing and constructing costumes,
Conor will truly be putting all of his skills to the test with this Senior Project!
The Department of Theatre and Dance called in this costume-expert-in-training
and resident pun master for an interview.
T&D: What is your major?
T&D: What’s your hometown?
Conor: Baltimore, Maryland.
T&D: What’s your main focus in theatre?
Conor: Costume design and theatre history.
T&D: How did you first get involved with theatre?
Conor: My mother took me to a production of Richard III at the Shakespeare Theatre in Richmond when I was about 12. The feelings it gave me, the sounds, the actions on stage, were far more powerful than any movie could give me, and I knew that theatre was something I wanted to be involved with.
T&D: What is your favorite show you’ve worked on at UMW?
Conor: I’d have to say Into The Woods. I feel it was the show I was most involved with, I put the most time into, and it really pushed me to give it my all as [Costume Designer] Kevin McCluskey’s assistant. I really enjoyed working with the costumes and the actors.
T&D: What are your plans after graduation?
Conor: I hope to work in DC, I’m gonna try to do something in Dramaturgy, or maybe see if I can get into a costume shop at one of the theatres there.
T&D: What is your favorite word? Least favorite word?
Conor: I actually have two favorite words. The first is lugubrious, because it sounds nothing like what it means. And the second is cacophony, because it sounds exactly like what it means. I’d have to say my least favorite word is yummy or yum, that’s always bothered me, especially when it’s used to describe somebody someone finds attractive.
T&D: What is your favorite kind of candy?
Conor: Jujubes. I know they’re horrible and waxy little things, but I enjoy them.
T&D: If you could work on any play or musical, which one would it be?
Conor: I would really like to work on King Lear for the historical aspects and the costumes. I also think the play itself is quite amazing, especially considering the span of time it takes, and King Lear’s descent into madness has always interested me. Though I am Lear-y about if I can handle the amount of work that has to be put into it.
T&D: What’s a fact about you that most people wouldn’t expect?
Conor: I’d say I’m very skilled at telling puns. I’m just kind of able to throw them out in conversation rapidly at the amazement of others. Although some people seem to find my puns painful, I don’t mind dishing out some pun-ishment.
T&D: Who would be some of your biggest professional influences?
Conor: The only person that’s really influenced me that I know by name is [Department of Theatre and Dance professor] Kevin McCluskey. He’s been my professor for three years now, and he was the first professor to ever give to me a book on fashion, so he has influenced me and always pushed me to be better than I am.
T&D: What accomplishments or contributions would you like to be remembered for when you graduate?
Conor: I’d like to be remembered for working in the costume shop, and even if I wasn’t the best or the fastest, I tried, and I was present as much as I could be. I’d like to think I had and will have great times in there. I’ve told plenty of jokes where I think I left people in stitches.
T&D: Do you have any interests outside of theatre?
Conor: I really enjoy art and history, I think that art speaks a lot about culture, and you learn about that culture through history, so they go together. I also enjoy reading and playing videogames, it’s nice to get into a world outside of our own.
T&D: What initially attracted you to costume design?
Conor: Originally it was seeing a production and seeing the characters, and seeing what the costumes could say about the characters without them even having to say a line. I think the costume of a character really effects how effective they are in the world of the play, because if it’s poorly designed then it can throw off your views of them or even throw off what you’d expect the character to be.