It is a bit of a cliché to talk about “the smell of the grease paint” when talking about the attractions of theatre life, but make up is one those important things in stage craft which, when done properly, should go unnoticed. To find out more, we talked to one of our most experienced actors, Paul Smith. Paul will be familiar to our audiences as an actor who takes on a variety of roles that often require him to change his appearance in subtle (and not so subtle) ways. Here is what he told us about Stage Makeup:
“A strange subject for a crusty old Yorkshire bloke. However, if you enjoy acting, as I have for over 50 years, there comes a time when you need to alter your facial features to suit a character – old, young, evil, drunk, ill, etc. Theatre lighting has a tendency to smooth out the normal facial features (a bonus for some ageing celebrities!) so makeup is needed to correct it, although at the Venture Theatre, we are quite close to the audience so we can often get away without it.
Too much makeup is worse than none; enhancing the features that are already there is the key. For example, to “age up”, I would enhance the lines I already have with a light brown, although I don’t seem to need much these days!
Make up can be water or grease based. Which to use is often a matter of choice; water base just washes off whereas grease base needs a remover. I prefer grease because I tend to sweat a lot on stage and I don’t want to see an hour’s work running down the front of my shirt.
At The Venture Theatre, we can manage the basics, but for specialist things e.g. the ghost in The Haunting, we turn to experts such as Jenni Lennard at “The Biz”. This also gives us an opportunity to learn new skills.”
If anyone is interested in this, or any other parts of our theatre, please visit us on our social nights, Mondays from 7.30 pm onwards (except Bank Holidays. More details about our theatre can be found on our website ashbyventuretheatre.org.uk and on Facebook and Twitter.