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I See Dead People

By Megan Murray

One of the most exciting things about participating in our local theater’s production of A Christmas Carol, besides Lily being Tiny Tim, is that I have a great director who lets me experiment with theatrical make-up.

Tiny Tim is tiny!

This year I had an amazing opportunity. I got to do the special effects make-up of Jacob Marley ( I am going to assume here that , if you are reading this, you do not live in a compound that shuns Victorian morality tales. I am guessing you all know who Jacob Marley is.) Every day my make-up routine consists of me taking heroic measures to hide any and every flaw. It is so much fun to make someone look …well…like they are back from the dead.

This is Ron, our Jacob Marley.

Even though theatrical make-up too much for a regular application, there are major lessons to be learned from the application of make up for the stage.  I will say, however, there is a huge part of me who wants to put on gore and walk through the  Wal Mart. Of course, I don’t think anyone would notice.

He is a really good sport.

One of the most important things I’ve learned in Theater Make-up is that dark recedes but light brings forth (Yeah, brings forth…we are doing a Mid Summer Nights Dream in the spring.) I know that is Make-Up 101, you learn it right after “ do not eat lipstick.” However, you do not see the full impact of it until you look at someone on stage. 

It is just not enough to use one color of foundation, powder, and concealer.  It is miraculous what the use of a bronzer on the perimeter of your face and under the hollows of your cheekbones can do! Add a dab of illuminator, and you look like you’ve had a face lift. If you want to know where to use an illuminator, look out our dearly deceased Jacob Marley. Wherever Jacob is gray, you add a touch of illuminator. 

The second most important thing is this simple equation: Youth =Round +Up. I know that angles look great for photography and film. In real life and on stage, roundness conveys youth. The surest way to make a character look older is to emphasize angles or downward bends. When we want to make a character look young on stage, we place the majority of blush on the apples of the cheeks and make the bottom of the lip very round. While we often bemoan chubby cheeks, a cherubic face is pleasing to the eye. 

You also can never underestimate the use of the color blue. Blue eyeshadow works wonders on stage. Under harsh lighting, blue eyeshadow makes the whites of the eyes look whiter. Even if blue eyeshadow gives you disco-nightmares, a navy liner or a bluish-purple color in the crease will give your eyes a new vibrancy. 

So, Painted Ladies, remember- All the World is a Stage. Thankfully, the lighting is a lot more forgiving!

  • Wendy

    Your shading on Jacob Marley is kind of amazing. Good job!