The Rear Window

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
MONDAY JANUARY 28, 2019
MEDIA CONTACT: Emily Dix | emily@bygonetheatre.com | 647-343-5965

The Rear Window Collective Presents the World Premiere of
THE REAR WINDOW
A Thrilling New Stage Adaptation of a Classic Tale

 TORONTO, ON (Monday January 28, 2019) – Bygone Theatre has partnered with the newly formed Rear Window Collective to support their upcoming production of the world premiere of The Rear Window, written and directed by Emily Dix. This Canadian Actor’s Equity Association production is being produced under the Artist’s Collective Policy, and runs March 8 – 17, 2019 at Theatre Passe Muraille, on their mainstage.

SYNOPSIS
Recuperating from a broken leg, photojournalist L.B. Jefferies (Tristan Claxton) spends his days cooped up in his NYC apartment, watching his neighbours through the rear window of his home. What starts out innocently enough quickly grows into a dangerous obsession, as Jefferies – hopped up on painkillers and too much alcohol – becomes convinced he’s witnessed one of his neighbours commit a brutal murder. Has Jefferies’ really solved a terrible crime? Or have his inner demons finally got the best of him?

Based on the short story It Had To Be Murder by Cornell Woolrich, the same tale that inspired the 1954 Hitchcock film, Rear Window (James Stewart, Grace Kelly), The Rear Window takes a new look at this classic tale of a peeping Tom who saw more than he wanted to see. Still set in the 1950s, the play’s relevancy to today is undeniable in a world where many of us waste away our hours “spying” on others through social media, making our own stories and assumptions based on these small glimpses of a person’s life. A gripping, psychological thriller that will leave you guessing until the final moments whether or not what we’re seeing can truly be believed.

Featuring: Tristan Claxton (Hamelt(s); The Dutchess of Malfi), Kate McArthur (Hamelt(s), My Entertainment World Outstanding Lead nomination; The Tom and Gertie Letters Project), Alex Clay (A Streetcar Named Desire; Inch Of Your Life), Elizabeth Rose Morriss (Tell Me On A Sunday; Harvest Moon Rising), Isaiah Kolundzic (Venus in Fur; The Boys In The Band;Six Stories Told At Night), Sarah Marchand (Umbrella Academy; God’s Plan B), Casey Romanin (Moving On), Gabriel Hamilton (Edmond; The Forest; His Girl Friday).

Created by The Rear Window Collective | Supported by Bygone Theatre
RECOMMENDED for ages 14+ | ADVISORY: Adult situations, violence
SHOW DATES March 8-17, 7:30pm evenings, 2:00pm weekend matinees
LOCATION Theatre Passe Muraille | 16 Ryerson Ave., Toronto
BOX OFFICE online via Arts Box Office | 416-504-7529
TICKETS $25-$30 | $20 Early Bird Discount tickets available until February 7

Visit www.bygonetheatre.com | Twitter & Instagram @BygoneTheatre, @The.Rear.Window

 

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A Very Vintage Christmas – Retro Mid Century Xmas Ornaments

As much as we may be in denial about winter being here, it’s hard to deny Christmas is around the corner when you’re bombarded by Christmas music in all the malls and decorations starting to pop up in stores and street corners. Instead of grumbling about how it all starts “too early”, we’ve decided to embrace it and take this time to help you prep for your own holiday celebrations, vintage style. Here’s our list of where to source the best decorations for those of you who like a “classic” feel.

Cheerful Reproduction Ornaments

Nothing says retro Christmas like the classic Shiny Brite ornaments. The most popular ornaments of the 1940s & 50s, they faded out of fashion in the later half of the 20th century, but in 2001 Christopher Radko began reproducing them, complete with vintage style box! You can find them a lot of places online, including Amazon.

 

 

Kurt Adler is another company that has really nailed the vintage aesthetic. You can find his stuff on Amazon as well, and he’s got everything from sparkly glass ornaments to small novelty characters, bubble lights, and classic clip-on birds, as seen below.

Garlands, Tinsel & Icicles – Oh My!

No vintage tree is complete without some classic garlands and tinsel. Retro Festive has a super fun popcorn garland (if you want the look without the salty temptation) The Holiday Barn has a  candy garland if you prefer something sweeter, and of course there’s the classic Shiny Brite garland, again from Amazon.

For tinsel, you can try a garland like this kitchy pink one from The Holiday Barn, get some beautiful handmade tin icicles from Pietersma Tinworks, or go with a real classic like Brite Star tinsel strands. While all of these are available from Amazon, I have lucked out before and come across some Brite Star type stuff at Dollarama. They get their share of decent stuff and it’s dirt cheap!

Retro Keepsake Ornaments

Maybe you’re not looking to replicate a classic tree, and just want something to show off your retro-loving personality. If that’s the case, there are a tone of cute and kitschy “keepsake” ornaments out there, like these fun little guys from Old World Christmas or Winterworm (bonus – they’re in our colours!).

 

You can get both of those on Amazon. Or you can check out specialty stores like The Holiday Barn and find ones like these retro cars and trailers, which are always fun.

Of course you can also take your chances scouring vintage shops, Etsy or Ebay for some authentic vintage pieces, though the prices can be steep, and if you’re worried about little hands or paws knocking things over, you might want to steer clear of the real thing.

What’s your favourite spot to score a vintage style ornament? Let us know in the comments below.

-E.

Bygone Theatre Rentals – Office Furniture

We recently did a production of His Girl Friday, which meant acquiring a LARGE volume of vintage office furniture and supplies; here’s some of the furniture pieces we now have available to rent.

 

  1. Vintage Wood Office Chairs: see individual pictures for details
    Rental Price: $20.00 each/wk
  2. Burgundy Faux Leather Executive Chair: see individual picture for details
    Rental Price: $30.00/wk
  3. Small Telephone Desk: see individual picture for details
    Rental Price: $15.00/wk
  4. Wood Arts & Crafts and Mid Century Modern Desks: see individual pictures for details
    Rental Price: $40.00 each/wk
  5. Metal Cabinet: see individual picture for details
    Rental Price: $15.00/wk

The styles we have available would be suitable for someone looking for something from the 1920s-60s, or something modern day with a vintage twist. Discounts available when renting multiple pieces at once, prices listed are for a single item, before HST.

Stay tuned to see some of the smaller set dressing items we have as well.

Bygone Theatre Rentals – Appliances

Bygone Theatre has finally gotten our  storage space sorted, which means we are ready to start renting out some of our great vintage pieces! Take a look at some of our larger items here; all prices listed are before HST. Please note that we are able to negotiate payment structures, and that discounts are available when renting multiple items at once. Email us at info@bygonetheatre.com with any questions, or to place an order; we require a minimum of 3 days notice for all prop rentals.

  1. Vintage Fridge: used in Wait Until Dark, gorgeous late 50s/early 60s white fridge with dusty rose interior. Inside latch has been modified to make for easier opening. Rental Price: $75.00/wk

2. Vintage Stove: used in Wait Until Dark, charming late 1940s white stove with oven.
Rental Price: $75.00/wk

3. Vintage 1950s Ringer Washer: used in Wait Until Dark, white General Electric washing machine with wringer, mid-50s, excellent condition.
Rental Price: $75.00/wk

Bygone Theatre - 1950s Wringer Washer Rental

4. Vintage 1950s Red Mini Fridge: Late 1940s/1950s, bright red mini fridge with chrome handle. Great for a photoshoot, or for a cafe/soda shop look.
Rental Price: $75/week

Bygone Theatre Red Mini Fridge

Stay tuned for much more, including vintage office supplies, props & costumes.

Retro Radio Hour – Creature Feature

Kicking off our 2016/17 season is Retro Radio Hour – Creature Feature! Join us for an evening of vintage radio plays, oldies music, magic AND our season announcement – learn how you can get involved in our mainstage productions.

Show is on Monday October 24th at the Imperial Pub, 54 Dundas St. E. Doors open at 8pm, and as always tickets are only $5. Check out our Facebook event for more details.

Hope to see you there!

Mid Century Luggage Tags

One of the necessary set pieces for Wait Until Dark is a suitcase with travel stickers, and so I’ve been scouring the internet for some of my favourite mid-century designs.

It’s really unfortunate that these are no longer used by hotels and airways, because some of them were really beautifully designed, and who wouldn’t love a bag covered in them? Personally, I might print off a second set for myself and add them to my own luggage.

-E.

Retro Radio Hour – Nifty 50s

It’s almost that time again! Retro Radio Hour is back, this time celebrating all things 1950s! Join us and the cast of our next show, Wait Until Dark, on Friday March 25th at the Imperial Pub for an evening of vintage radio plays, oldies music, magic, classic cinema trivia and more! Doors open at 8pm, tickets are only $5 at the door (cash please!). All proceeds go to support Wait Until Dark, running April 14-16th in the rehearsal hall at Tarragon Theatre.

Hope to see you there!

Retro Radio Hour Nifty 50s

Retro Christmas Countdown – Xmas in the 20th Century

While Christmas dates back hundreds of years before, it was the start of the 20th century that saw the turn towards the lavish and very commercial holiday that we all know today. Here’s a very brief history of Christmas traditions from the last century.

1900s

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The first Christmas card was created in 1843 by John Horsley, and by the turn of the century the Victorian’s love of sentimental greetings had made this a popular tradition.

The Victorian styles of decorating carried into the start of the 20th century, with gilded nuts, candles and paper ornaments adorning trees.

This decade also saw the creation of what was to become one of the most popular children’s toys of the century; the Teddy Bear. Named after President Roosevelt, the charming story of the origin of this toy and its name can be read here.

1910s

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As Christmas rapidly became a highly commercialized holiday, more and more companies used it as a means of selling their products, and the image of Santa Claus began to morph into the one we are familiar with today. It was in the 1910s that Santa’s now unmistakable look, with red suit and pants trimmed in white fur, matching cap and long white beard, began to become the norm.

While a legend has grown that claims Coca Cola invented the modern-day image of Santa, that is not quite the case. Prior to the famous Coca Cola Santa (who was created in 1931), the jolly elf had been portrayed as anything from tall and lanky to a munchkin-sized man. Norman Rockwell had painted a Santa who is strikingly similar to the 30s Coke version all the way back in 1911, however it wasn’t until Coke began regularly producing consistent looking Christmas ads that the current version of St. Nick really began to stick.

For an interesting pictorial history of Santa, check out this link.

1920s

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By the 1920s the upper class had traded-in their candles for electric Christmas lights, and trees were as lavish and daring as the fashions of the decades.

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With the rising popularity of the wireless (radio), the 1920s also saw the first Christmas radio broadcast when, in 1922, Arthur Burrow presented “The Truth About Father Christmas”.

1930s

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Rockefeller Centre, 1931

In the midst of the Great Depression few had money to spend on food and clothing, let alone Christmas gifts and decorations. Still, the tradition of putting up a tree hung on, with many families owning decorations they had purchased in the more prosperous 1920s. Homemade ornaments also adorned the tree, made out of things like the foil paper saved from cigarette packs. As previously mentioned, Coca Cola started to advertise with their own version of Santa, and upbeat Christmas songs were enjoyed on the radio. Advertisements still bombarded shoppers with ideas for the perfect Christmas gift, only their tactics had changed; a focus on the practical and sometimes financing options were promoted.

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The popular character Rudolph, everyone’s favourite red-nosed reindeer, was created in 1939 by Montgomery Ward. Although it wasn’t until a decade later when Gene Autry released the song that we’ve all learned as kids.

rudolph

1940s

The 1940s saw the Second World War, and with that came rations and a reminder that the war effort should be supported above all else. Sales in non-necessities like Christmas lights dropped dramatically as many companies changed their focus to assist in the war effort. War bonds were promoted as a perfect gift for any family member or friend, and Santa himself switched his classic red & white outfit to don army duds and support the cause.

With many families missing fathers, brothers and sons overseas, Christmas could have been a bittersweet time. However, back home the masses were reminded to keep their spirits up while fighting the good fight, so many Christmas celebrations resumed some of the splendour they had seen before the Depression.

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1950s

The post-war boom made the Christmas of the 1950s one of the biggest and gaudiest yet. The Baby Boom meant there were lots of families with youngsters, and so the toy market was buzzing. Wide-spread prosperity meant most were lucky enough to be able to afford Christmas celebrations, and women’s magazines, eager to encourage them to return to the home, now that the war was over, pushed for the ideal Christmas season, full of elaborate recipes and decor.

Television was also becoming popular and with it came a host of Christmas specials. Stars like Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby recorded Christmas songs and popular shows like I Love Lucy recorded special Christmas episodes.

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1960s

By the 1960s, the fads of the 50s were firmly cemented; every toy imaginable was available on the market and they were advertised directly to children in between the cartoons they watched on tv. The Christmas shows we still see today – Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Frosty the Snowman – first appeared on the airwaves and decorations were more colourful and outlandish than ever before.

There was significant variety now as well. Christmas trees could be anything from your traditional green pine, to the popular aluminum trees that came in silver, aqua and even pink! And don’t forget the fake snow! The concept of “Kitschmas” was truly born in the 1960s.

What’s your favourite Christmas decade? Tweet your replies to @BygoneTheatre #RetroXmas 

-E.

Retro Radio Hour – Spring Fling!

On Thursday May 14, 2015, Bygone will be presenting the 5th show in the retro radio series, Retro Radio Hour – Spring Fling. We are back at the SoCap and as always, tickets are only $5 cash at the door. This week’s show features; Emily Dix, Matt McGrath, Elizabeth Rose Morriss, Ian McGarrett, Mikey Zahorak, Peter Grant Mackechnie, Nicole Byblow, Astrid Atherly and Joseph Vita with magic by Leigh Beadon.

Underneath It All: A Brief History of Women’s Underwear, 1900-1970

When dressing a period show, it is important to remember that it’s not just the clothing the audience sees that makes the look authentic. To really capture a realistic period style, the proper undergarments need to be used to help achieve the accurate shape or silhouette.

For those doing a show set in the first half of the 20th century, the following crash-course may be of some assistance.

The 1900s

As you can see in the photos above, the early 1900s embraced a truly “feminine” shape; big hips, large breasts, and a very cinched in “wasp waist”. The look was not quite as extreme as it had been in previous decades (where, in some cases, women may have had ribs removed to try and make their waists smaller, though this idea is debated), but it still required tightly bound whale bone corsets and layers of heavy petticoats.  Little attention was paid to the breasts; push-up and padded bras did not exist, instead the curved upper torso was created by cinching in the waist, so that while the upper body appeared fuller, it did not yet have the definition that would be seen in later decades.

The 1910s

As the century progressed, silhouettes began to transform into a leaner, straighter shape, and the corsets and bustles of the previous decades mostly disappeared. What corsets were still in use now were longer, coming down past the hips and up to just under the bust, helping to achieve a streamlined look. The waist line rose to an “empire waist”, just below the bust, and as the ankles were now often visible, the length of slips shortened. As the petticoats slimmed, bloomers were replaced with a closer fitting underwear, more similar to what we see today. It is also during this time that we see a change in the overall aesthetic of undergarments; they were truly becoming lingerie. Machine-made lace was more readily available, and so decorative underwear could be purchased for a more reasonable price. The ads of the time no longer looked like a textbook page on what was available, but began to embrace the beauty and sensuality of the products.

1920s

The 1920s saw the change from a “womanish” figure to a “girlish” one; the bust, hips and waist were slimmed to a straight, narrow, almost boyish look, and hemlines shortened dramatically. We begin to see some two-piece undergarments, but the bras still are not lifting or defining the breasts. As hemlines were shorter, decorative garters and stockings became popular. Tube-like corsets were used to help curvier women attain a straighter silhouette.

1930s

Two-piece undergarments were the norm come the 1930s and slips were less common. Curves again were being embraced, and women with round, curved hips were adored. Tight-fitting girdles were sometimes used to shape the hips, and early versions of the bras we wear today are seen. Hollywood began to have a major part in the popularity of women’s styles, and ads of the decade catered to those looking for a glamourous silhouette.

1940s

The war had a major effect on women’s fashions as many materials were rationed. “Make do and mend” was the motto, and women were encouraged to sew their own clothes and update their old ones to match the current styles. The limits on fabrics meant that a more angular, fitted look defined the decade, and hemlines were once again shorter, hitting just below the knee. Military styles were popular, and women’s suits came in fashion. Nylon was one of the casualties of the war, as it was needed to make parachutes, and so nylon stockings disappeared from the stores. In an effort to maintain the look, some women drew black “seams” up the back of their legs, giving the illusion of wearing stockings. As many women went out to work in factories, they traded in their dresses and skirts for trousers and overalls, a style that required more form-fitting underwear. Silk was also unavailable because of the war effort, and so slips were less common. To make up for the simplicity in clothing, women’s hairstyles became more elaborate, and accessories were used to decorate an outfit rather than wearing a whole new garment. While there were new styles in 1940s undergarments, keep in mind that many would not have been purchasing them, and would have likely used what they already had instead.

1950s

When the war and its rations ended, fashions embraced the new availability of fabrics, and the female silhouette returned to a fullness it had not seen since the turn of the century. Fitted tops showcased a full bust, and pointed bras lifted and accentuated the breasts. The waist was cinched with a girdle, and full skirts were ballooned with petticoats and bouffants. Stockings were again available, and new “seamless” ones were on the market. Underwear ads became increasingly sexual, and there is a noticeable turn in the marketing which now aimed itself more at men (purchasing for their wives) than women.  Most women were back in the home, and so fashion could again take place over practicality. The ideal women was one who, as Audrey sings in “Little Shop of Horrors”, “cooked like Betty Crocker and looked like Donna Reed”; feminine, fashionable and a devoted wife and mother.

1960s

While many in the 1960s still embraced full skirts, girdles and push-up bras, as feminism blossomed many in the fashion world began to lean towards more natural silhouettes and more comfortable clothing. Skirts got very short, cut high on the thigh, and so slips and underwear shortened as well. Late in the decade and into the 1970s, some women stopped wearing bras and by that point most had long abandoned the corset or girdle. When dressing the 1960s, there are several ways you can go, so before looking for undergarments, ask yourself; is your character a Glamour Puss? a Hippie? a preppy teen? There are many ways to go.

Earlier Decades:

While we here at Bygone tend to focus on the first half of the 20th Century, when it comes to underwear, earlier periods have some of the most interesting articles. Want to learn more about women’s unmentionables? Check out some of these articles:

Mental Floss – A Funny Approach

Hosiery History – Stockings Through The Years

Vintage Lingerie Ads

Elizabethan Costuming

 

-E.