Playing Dress-Up: Kansas City Style! - Karen E. Griffin and Mary L. Schmidt
Reviewed By Peggy Brockschmidt
For fashion-lovers of a certain age, the words "Nelly Don" and "Harzfelds" may conjure up a specific outfit- your aunt's dress with pockets, your first party frock. Or perhaps you have become more recently aware of Kansas City's contributions to fashion history. "Playing Dress-Up" walks with the audience down memory lane in a nostalgic yet lively show which ties fashion history to fashion present.
The Sparkle Room set, with both clothes and several fabric art pieces, enhances the stories told by two of Kansas City's best storytellers. First, Mary L. Schmidt, in an updated version of a show she first brought to Fringe in 2014, takes the audience to rural Minnesota and big-city estate sales. Then Karen E. Griffin looks at her mother, a Garment District seamstress, and how her influence rippled through Karen's artistic life. An audience talk-back at the end of the show engages the audience and encourages questions and sharing memories.
In their two dynamic and engaging monologues and in their stylish "fashionista" personas, Schmidt and Griffin look at the meaning of "dressing up" from a variety of perspectives and provide a unique lens into an important but often ignored part of Kansas City history and its influence even today.