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Get your fashion on: The Cain family

posted by Amy Bobeda on Fri, Nov 18, 2011
in Costume shop

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Now that you’ve been moved to tears and choked your way through fits of laughter with the Cain family’s submission to the Bible in Bill Cain’s How to Write A New Book For the Bible, it's time to get hip and get some Cain family attire of your own. Whether you’re a peachy pastel man like Pete Cain, sport comfy robes like Mary, stark serious duds like teacher Paul, or a man of the cloth like our hero, Bill, your resident costume shop is here to help you dress like the most “functional” family in town.
Clearly, the most important gear you likely don’t have on hand is your alb and stole. For those unhip with the clerical lingo, the alb is the white robe with the large collar worn when (SPOILER ALERT) Bill speaks at his father’s funeral, while the stole is worn around his neck over the robe.

For our production the original alb was purchased by the man himself, priestly playwright Bill Cain. Like many occurrences in Bill’s life, an act of God brought to us an alb that had originally belonged to a friend of Bill’s whom recently passed. The costume shop took it as a sign that our submission to the Bible had been accepted. So, due to the sentimental value and polyester quality of the alb -- yes, priests do indeed wear polyester -- our tailor, Kathy, made pattern of the alb, and made actor, Tyler Pierce, an alb of his very own out of a lightweight wool.

The stole was another game. For those who don’t know, Berkeley Rep loves authenticity (we did just do a show called Life Without Makeup), so our stoles are the real deal. There are two stoles in the production, one worn, one not worn. The alb that stays in box and hand belongs to Bill Cain, the second alb, Kathy built from a patterning packet entitled

Constructing Stoles:
Priest Stoles, Deacon Stoles,
And Introducing!!!!!!!
The New Deacon’s Stoles

Being the naive young woman that I am, I figured we could slap a stole together in an afternoon, but after Kathy shared with us the 31-page instruction guide that included tidbits like “I come to the process of setting the hems freshly — the next day. I make sure the house is quiet; everybody is fed, settled, the washing machine is chugging away, nice music on the stereo, the dogs and cats in good order, NO GRANDCHILDREN,” clearly, we were underprepared for the task. So, we told Kathy we were here if she needed our support, turned up the Black Eyed Peas on the stereo, and let her get to work. Two days later a stole was born, a stole that Cain himself found “beautiful.”

Let’s recap what you learned in your dressing lesson thus far:
a. Albs are polyester.
b. Stoles can be purchased or built.
c. Set your hems after a day of rest.
e. Clerical dressing is harder than you thought.

So, you’re more inclined to dress like the others? I’d say head down to your local Gap and Banana Republic for Bill and Paul’s pants and T-shirts. The suits all came from The Men’s Warehouse, the shoes from Nordstrom Rack. Mary is a Macy’s girl at heart, and Pete, well he is all vintage — I’d recommend La Rosa in the Haight.

If you found yourself puzzled with the many references peppered throughout today’s lesson, I’d recommend going to Berkeley Rep to see How to Write a New Book for the Bible. Playing through Sunday!

‘til next time,
Peace, Love, and Happy Hemming


PS: Send your alb and stole family photos to for the alb and stole follow up next month.

BI2_lrLinda Gehringer, Leo Marks, Aaron Blakeley and Tyler Pierce. Photo by


Thank you

Dermatal | Wed, Dec 28, 2011

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