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  • Writer's pictureLaurie Swigart


by Debra Lulloff, Owen-Withee High School, Owen, WI

The glare of the bright lights, the sparkle of the elaborate costumes, the smell of greasepaint...the thought of any or all of these things makes any theatre person's spine tingle with the anticipation, the excitement, the glamour, and the magic of the theatre.

An essential part of the magic of the theatre is the makeup. It cannot be ignored or put off until the last minute because the AMOUNT and TYPE of makeup used for any performance is the EXTERIOR of every character in a play; it is what the audience sees and experiences as the character even before the actor utters his/her first lines. Thus, it is very much a part of the magic, the illusion, the reality of the theatre.

The amount of makeup used for a play is determined by a number of factors, the biggest of which is the lighting. A basic rule is: If bright lights are anticipated, used heavier coverage. If the lighting is normal, not as much will be needed. Another consideration is where on the

character should the makeup be applied. A general rule is that any exposed flesh should be covered and powdered.

Makeup, as a product, has undergone some changes in the last few years. Water-based makeup is easier to use and remove. In addition, it may not make teenage actors (or any actors, for that matter) break out as much as the old types. Also, these products may not be as expensive and are as easy to find as your nearest drugstore.

Do NOT use old makeup. Replacing the basics at least once a year is a good rule of thumb. REPLACE ESPECIALLY ALL EYE MAKUPS WITH EACH PRODUCTION.

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