Friday, September 2, 2011

Day Five - Makeup time!

Tucker: Do some girls do this everyday? WOAH.

Tonight Michelle, our Hair and Makeup designer, gave Tucker and another actor a tutorial on basic stage makeup. I tagged along for the ride, just to see what it was like. All I can say is that I learned a LOT about how makeup is used and more importantly, why.

Actually, that isn't true. I can say more than that.

The tutorial started out with an explanation of everything in the famous "Actor's Makeup Kit" that every actor needs to purchase. The contents are very interesting, and include:

  • liquid latex (face glue)
  • Mint-flavored stage blood
  • Brushes!! Powder-puffs!
  • Spirit gum (more face glue)
  • Hair mascara (for touches of gray hair)
  • Scar wax
Then came the fun part. Michelle showed us the correct process for applying all this makeup. In short, actors need makeup onstage because if they don't have it, the stage lights can wash out their faces and make them featureless and terrifying and very not-human looking. The main idea
behind stage makeup is to accentuate the dimensions of the face, so that everything that is hightlighted by the light is even MORE highlighted, while everything that is in shadow is even MORE in shadow. Make sense?

Here's how the process works:
1. Mix foundation to match the color of your skin. Then, apply it ALL OVER YOUR FACE AND HAIRLINE AND NECK.
2. Powder your face. All of it. Everywhere. Michelle: "For example, if you don't powder your eyelids, and then you sweat under the stage lights, you will be like 'why are my eyelids so sweaty?' and then you will realize that you didn't powder them!"
3. Apply highlights. Michelle drew out a diagram of a person (or alien?) and marked which areas of the face should be highlighted or shadowed. The highlighted parts are the areas that would stick out if a light was shining on your face.
4. Apply shadows. Same concept as before. Michelle even offered tips on how to, for example, figure out where your jaw line was by rolling your finger on your cheek. Michelle: "I do this a lot..."
5. Blend, blend, blend! This is the hardest part of the process. You don't want to blend TOO much, but you don't want lines on your face either.
6. Powder more!
7. Apply blush to cheeks to make you look like a human being and not like Voldemort.
8. Eyeliner time! This is a skill that takes many many years of practice, and one that guys always hate. Michelle: "I haven't poked anyone's eye out...yet."

Michelle is so proud.

9. Lip-liner and lip color. Actors, especially guys, need to be careful in this part because if you make your lips too big or too red, you could look like a drag queen by accident.
10. More powder!

At this point, this is the end of the process if all that is required is standard stage makeup. However, there are many many many other things that can be added to create a specific look for a particular character or for a particular show. For example, when the Drama Department did Arabian Nights last spring, the female actors all had fancy eye-shadow, fake eyelashes, bindis and henna on their hands. Not to mention the hair.

One of Michelle's creations for Arabian Nights

As you can probably guess, applying makeup takes a lot of time. This is why actors are called several hours before the show starts. Pretty cool eh? Stay tuned for more information from Michelle herself!

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