Uses for Pirate Baldricks and Belt Squares
For any director or choreographer, stage costumes are critical to create a convincing atmosphere and field a realistic cast in order to make magic onstage; this reality is sure to come as no surprise to thespians and serious performers around the world. This article deals with a certain type of characters--pirates, rogues and rapscallions--and gives some advice for how to dress them and get the most use out of a costume closet.
Sailing the seven seas
Pirate baldrics and belt-squares are often best used to illustrate a roguish character. Baldrics hold sheathed weapons or missiles without restricting an actor's hand motions or gesturing. This can prove especially important for thespians with active roles. To give a character a convincing, threatening pirate costume (complete with swords and knives) and still allow him or her to give the role the physicality and emotion it deserves, one could try using an over-the-shoulder baldric instead of a standard belt sheath. That way, weapons and violent props are easily worn onstage, the illusion of piracy is maintained and the actor can still enjoy full range of motion in front of the audience.
Baldrics and belt-squares give you the tools to create an authentic-looking ensemble. However, this discerning costumer should keep in mind that the loose-floating appearance of a baldric also detracts from the dignity of a character's looks. If one is trying to portray a royal navy captain or a mariner of high status, belt squares and baldrics are probably best avoided. In this case, tighter garments and traditional sheathes work best.