Because of the technical elements of theatre productions, makeup is a crucial part of being an actor. Stage lights wash out an actor’s face and flatten it, so no matter what kind of makeup a character might wear, the actor must wear special foundation that enhances skin color and use special contouring techniques to accentuate the various contours of the face. Makeup is also used to transform your face into your character’s face. This can involve making your face appear older/younger or creating physical evidence of an illness or an injury, but it also involves choosing makeup that reflects your character’s specific life experiences. I for example, have played women who are dancers (and possibly secret prostitutes), so my makeup choices are outlandish (and sometimes a little cheap). Other times, I’ve had to tone my makeup down because I need to play a character who appears sweet and innocent. (The anti-feminist makeup rules in musical theatre: a potential future blog post? TOTALLY.)
Putting on makeup for a show has always been one of my favorite parts of being an actor. It is an extreme form of my daily makeup ritual. A common phrase that I hear in dressing rooms is that “There’s no such thing as ‘too much makeup.’” I find that I can get away with more intense looks because, under the lights, the makeup does not look as heavy as it actually is. I definitely find myself taking more liberties with my face because of this wiggle-room—insane drag queen false eyelashes, the thickest line of liquid liner imaginable, layer upon layer upon of blush, insanely bold lips…THE OPTIONS ARE ENDLESS!
So right about now is the point where I admit that this post came to me after seeing Rabbit Write’s photo gallery of her personal history with makeup. My “Mommy Rachel” complex kicked in a bit. “I WANNA DO A PHOTO GALLERY, JUST LIKE RACHEL.” But since I’m now an AH-dult and am my own person and have my own ideas (PROGRESS!), I am doing a slightly different thing by giving you a gallery of my face transformed by stage makeup. Enjoy. (Some of these photos go back as far as high school, bee tee dubs.)