During movies and plays people focus on the characters and plot, forgetting work that is involved in the production. Makeup artists play a crucial role in productions by helping to bring the characters to life.
Senior Jessica Biacan is a theater major that declared her concentration in tech her sophomore year. She has a hair and makeup focus that has allowed her to work behind the scenes on multiple CNU productions.
“I’m still a newbie in the whole field, but I’ve been gaining a lot of experience in the last year and a half,” said Biacan.
Her favorite type of theater makeup is old age, where she works with shadows and highlights. The shadowing gives the illusion of wrinkles and the highlights help to emphasize these areas.
“It’s basically a lot of sculpting around the face with dark shadows but also making sure not to make it too dark because it’s not realistic,” said Biacan.
At the mentioning of makeup most people only think about the face. For makeup artists, doing makeup can mean not only working on the face but the body as well.
Biacan did an old age lab in her makeup class that focused on hands rather than the face. She started the makeup by sticking spirit gum–glue-like product used to stick things to actors without it hurting–to her hand.
Afterwards, she ripped tissues into small pieces and stuck it on the spirit gum and then brushed liquid latex over it. Biacan stretched out the latex after it dried, giving the illusion of old age.
“It deepens the creases and wrinkles in your hand that you would normally have, and it emphasizes them more,” said Biacan.
In her makeup class, Biacan has also done a wound and gore lab. For this type of makeup, she made latex pieces in advance in order to recreate the wound.
Afterwards, she had to put objects in the latex in order to give texture to the wound. Biacan decided on putting crushed up cereal in her wound.
She also added blood, which is made using red food coloring, to the latex and cereal. When the latex dried, she stuck it to her body using spirit gum.
“I used what is usually in most makeup kits called a ‘bruise wheel’, which has all the colors that we use to recreate a bruise that you would normally get and you put it around the wound,” said Biacan.
Senior Heidi Mallett has worked with theater makeup since high school. She plans to continue her studies of makeup in graduate school.
“Right now I want to do more theater, not necessarily film, makeup but I do want to go to graduate school and get trained to do both,” said Mallett.
The main difference between theater and film makeup is that film makeup requires a lot more work with details since cameras will be very close to the actors.
“In theater, your audience is a very good distance away so you can get away with a lot, you don’t have to have everything as detailed, so it’s a little easier in that way,” said Mallett.
For CNU productions, the actors also participate in doing their makeup. Actors have to apply basic makeup to their faces so that it does not take the makeup artists too much time to work on the actors.
“I would say there is usually around two to four makeup artists working on a production. It’s not a lot because with hair and makeup the actors can do some of it themselves, too,” said Biacan.