Portrayal of theater characters can be very tricky. It demands not only the actor’s ability to act it out. The overall physical appearance of a particular persona must also be epitomized with utmost authenticity. And this can be done and achieved with the use of cosmetics.
However, applying makeup for theater and stage plays requires ultimate precision and familiarity with the show, script and characters. In addition, the makeup artist must also communicate constantly with the casts and staff members to create a good working relationship.
Lighting plays a big role in all theater plays. Lights can make the stage appear gloomy, cheerful, solemn or tragic. In the same manner, actors can also be affected by the lights and shadows either positively or unfavorably. Thus, the makeup artists must be knowledgeable with the lighting effects on the actors and the whole play.
He must be familiar with the distance that separates the actors on stage from their audience. One should bear in mind that the actors’ makeup can’t be seen from all distances and angles. Hence, the features must be precisely made up lest they will appear drowned out by lights or overwhelmed by shadows. In that case, planning the final appearance of the actors is indispensable.
There are instances that an actor has to appear much younger or older, prettier or uglier, sporting scars or bruises and other bodily imperfections such as humps on the back. To create these various characters, special effects, props and makeup are needed. The makeup artist must allot an ample amount of time to research and study the character.
To completely accomplish all these, the makeup artists should be well equipped. Their makeup toolbox must contain the items they need such as makeup colors, sponges and puffs, makeup brushes, powders, foundation and different hues of lipsticks and lip gloss to name a few. But the most important makeup tools they need to have dependable, professional quality makeup brushes.
Synthetic makeup brushes and velour powder sponges are mostly recommended in doing theatrical makeup. That is because the actors on stage are constantly under bright lights or shadow, or appeared on distance. Thus, theater makeup tends to be heavier than daytime or outdoor makeup.
Likewise, these makeup brushes must also come in various shapes and sizes to accommodate different uses. For example, a large brush is more suitable for powder rouge, while a small lip brush is generally efficient in applying lipstick to highlight the contour of the lips.
These may all sound very complicated and tedious. But the key to accomplish a very satisfactory result in theater makeup artistry is an eye for detail. A theater makeup artist must not only be talented and dedicated. He must be very meticulous in his job. After all, his judges are the highly critical audience.