Thursday, November 15, 2007

Charlotte's Web Makeup Fun

I thought maybe you all were getting a little tired of Charlotte's Web, so I've been posting on other subjects--but before I can really put that show to bed, I have to show you pictures of what we did with the makeup!

You may recall that I was the Makeup Committee Chairperson for this show. Thankfully I had a Co-Chair who helped with scheduling and emailing, but she'd never been on the committee before. In fact, neither had any of the other moms who were assigned to Makeup, and my usual right-hand gals were taking this show off. So was the dad (an artist) who has done animal faces for us before (back in Seussical and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe).

To say I felt stressed about designing all these animal faces would be an understatement, and I did send Jim an SOS when we needed a design fast for Wilbur the pig's face. But after that, it was up to me and my committee, and we all learned so much!

First, we looked at pictures of real barn animals; then we tried to draw the distinctive features onto a generic face, or makeup map. Next, we tried the designs out on some "guinea pigs"--our younger children.

At the tech rehearsal and two dress rehearsals we tried them out on the actual kids. When the Animals were on stage, we'd run out into the theater to see how they looked from way back; when they went off, we'd hotfoot it back to the Green Room, rub some makeup off and try a different shape nose or mouth, then race back out and look again! It was trial and error, but the end results were great, most people seemed to think.

I posted about Wilbur's makeup before. Charlotte (my daughter) was a glamorous spider, with false eyelashes, iridescent eye makeup and lots of glitter.

(Most of these shots were taken at the end of a show, so imagine a little more color, lipstick, powder, etc., if you're here for ideas for stage makeup...also, click to enlarge all photos, and see my sidebar for links to other theater makeup posts.)

Here's the other big lead--Templeton, the Rat. I was responsible for his makeup and Charlotte's every night. Doesn't he have an expressive face?

There are a lot of birds in Charlotte's Web. Here's the Goose, a lead with a song and lots of lines.

Our production added a Gander, as well. (He was hilarious.) We thought he had a hat or headpiece coming from Costumes, but we ended up having to come up with a hairstyle at the last dress rehearsal. One of the girls in the cast shaped it with some heavy-duty sculpting gel (it comes to a little tail at the back), and then sprayed his hair white. She did his makeup as well. What a help!

We had a bunch of Hens...

And one Rooster. (Isn't his face a work of art?) And of course, the Goslings! (I'm afraid I have to claim that one.)

I was so thankful for one mom on my committee who did all seven fidgety Goslings, show after show--and enjoyed it!

There was a Lamb...

...and her mother, the Sheep, who did makeup for both of them.

I never was totally happy with this sheep design, but I was afraid both Sheep and Lamb were getting tired of my tweaking. They never showed it though!

We had a Horse and a Cow...

There was a Cat (and a Dog--but my picture of her didn't turn out).

And every barnyard needs a pesky Goat! This boy had a great time doing his own makeup when I didn't have time to help him. Isn't the "goat"-tee perfect?

And here's the character I thought was going to be our biggest makeup challenge. He's Uncle, the enormous pig who wins the blue ribbon that Wilbur is hoping for at the county fair. I was told that we'd only have a few minutes, in the dark, backstage, to get him transformed from a square dancer into Uncle.

Then I had a flash of inspiration--a ginormous pig snout! He could put it on himself, in the dark, in seconds. I'm as proud of this creative, no-makeup solution as I am of some of the other designs we came up with!

It was a lot of time and work and stress, yes; but it was also a creative and fulfilling team effort. The women on my committee and I had such a good time working together--and it's always energizing to spend all that time with a bunch of extroverted kids! And makin' great memories with my own.


Brea said...

All the makeup looks wonderful!! I am so impressed. I would never have been able to pull that whole thing off without someone losing an eye; I can barely put on my own mascara without injuring myself, lol!! Good job!

Anonymous said...

The makeup & special effects are outstanding!!! We'd never know you didn't have professional help this time---you've learned fast! 'Course I'm a little partial to the glamorous spider and the gosling...... Pianomum

Islandsparrow said...

I am so impressed! The make-up is fantastic - and the kids are obviously enjoying themselves - what great smiles!

Ree said...

What a great job on the costumes and makeup! Could you tell me how you added the spider arms to the costume and what they are made of? Thanks! We are performing Charlotte's Web in our local town and you have great ideas!

At A Hen's Pace said...


I didn't make the costumes, but it looked like the spider legs were made out of foam, maybe even those swimming "noodles" and covered with a black fringey fabric.