Monday, November 12, 2012

Narnia Makeup--Behind the Scenes

I'm BAAACK!  What? No time passed for the rest of you?

I've been in Narnia, a land not normally inhabited by humans. A visit from Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve is a big deal.  So who lives there? Narnians!

These are woodland Narnians. A couple of my teen helpers did leaf-and-vine designs on all of them.

Here is a Pixie. My very own pixie, in fact. :) Another teen helper painted all 8 pixies every show.

There are fairies in Narnia. The Fairies were all teenage girls able to do this elaborate design on themselves and outline it with gold Aqua Glitter. (No, they did not wear old shirts for costumes--that is a cover-up, required when cast members are eating or applying makeup.)

There is a Witch in Narnia! A White Witch who makes it always winter and never Christmas. Here she is with her henchman, Scratch, the Dwarf. One of the other moms, who had never done stage makeup before but who had been an art major in college, took on the White Witch as her project. From hair design to finishing touches of silverleaf, it took 45 minutes or more to get her ready, but the results were worth it. She looked fabulous onstage!

The White Witch is accompanied in her dance numbers by Cruelies, who are evil spirit-types. The directors wanted them to be nearly faceless, so we covered their lips with makeup and added this creepy-looking design around their eyes. It was simple enough for them to do themselves, and it looked great!

There were other Evils who joined the White Witch's army. I encouraged them to go crazy with wrinkles, bags, shadows, wild-and-wooly eyebrows, and super-teased and messy hair. This girl gave herself a unibrow!

Mr. Tumnus, a Faun, plays a leading role in the story. Fauns are half man, half goat:  bare-chested, with facial hair. With prosthetic ears, he was nearly there, but for the finishing touch, I handcrafted horns out of Model Magic and mounted them on a headband. He looked distinctive from all the other characters on stage, especially when frozen into a statue!

Finally, Narnia is full of Talking Animals.

Here is me applying finishing touches to the Bull, Aslan's military commander. He may be hard to recognize, but that is my 13-year-old son.

The costume and a little bit of distance make him look more Bull-ish. All of these designs look different on stage than they do in these close-ups. We have found that subtle does not play well in our extra-large theater with not-great lighting, so bolder and bigger is better!

All of us on the makeup team found that we were our own worst critics. (I think this time I made the white area around his mouth too wide; his face looked longer and narrower when the white did not extend beyond the edges of his mouth or as far up onto his nose.)

The Beavers proved to be quite a challenge, but we finally got them right, I think. I did Mrs. Beaver's face and Mr. Beaver's hair "ears" every time. Here you can see how a slight change in a design can make a big difference. I blended out the white around Mrs. B's eyes a bit too much this time, and I didn't darken her nose as much as his is. He looks better because there is more contrast of light and dark on his face. Also his eyebrows really complete his design. I made hers more feminine and "plucked" on purpose, but imagine her arch thickened just a bit--see what that would add? Also, I had trouble with the brush I used to do her whisker dots too, and that area got smudgy when I tried to fix them. The crispness of his looks really good by comparison. Just little stuff...but it's making notes like this that helped us get better each time!

Okay, that was for anyone googling "bull makeup" or "beaver makeup." All done critiquing.

Here is a creative use of hair to make ears, on our Deer...

...and Raccoon!

We had a Rabbit and a Hare. We gave them both the same makeup design. She had to flip a little girl over her head in one dance, so we made her a French lop, with her ears on the sides.

A Squirrel...

...a Fox (with hair fastened to make a "beard" or "ruff")...

...and an Antelope are all good Narnians.

But in the Green Room, a Talking Leopard can be friends with a Hag...

..and a Squirrel can play cards with an Ogre (who creatively gave himself a black eye, you can see!). It's like the Peaceable Kingdom! (Don't you love his hair?)

Finally, we have the magical White Stag. If you catch him, he'll give you three wishes! Our Stag had a Doe for a dance partner, and their ballet interludes during scene changes was one of my favorite parts of the show. She remained a Doe for the whole show, so her makeup is more elaborate (lots of glitter which showed up well under the lights) while his was as minimal as possible. Why? Because he had a quick change into the Professor, who appears in the very next scene! So less white, less black on him--which had to be wiped off in a flash, and a few wrinkles reapplied. Off came the antlers, and on went a pair of horn-rimmed glasses--and some folks didn't realize it was the same young man! I was pleased at how his hair looked white in this costume, and gray in his Professor sweater.

(As a makeup tip for anyone googling--because it can be hard to get dark hair to look white--I painted his hair with a Graftobian Disguise Stix in white to start out, especially on sideburns and bangs, then sprayed with Streaks'n'Tips white hairspray. The Party City brand was very wet and only turned the hair gray; Beyond the Zone Color Bomb hair spray is not as good either. The Graftobian Glitter Gel was cheaper, more glittery and less sticky than Ben Nye's Glitz. We used Ben Nye Magicake Aqua Paints for most of our designs. For the White Witch, we used a color called Blue Spirit as the base, and went with a creme base for more comfort and blendability.)

I have some makeup experience, but can you believe that the other five moms on my committee had never done makeup before?? Didn't they do a fabulous job? And though you always lose some control over the designs when you have the kids doing themselves--cough, Evils, cough, cough--there is no way we could have got 80-some cast members ready any other way! And they learn so much from doing it. I was SO PROUD of the kids, my team, my teen helpers and the RESULTS. The makeup was a huge addition to the whole illusion of sets, costumes and props creating the wonderland of Narnia!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sure enjoyed all the explanations, and you really did creat the land of Narna! They all looked fabulous! Thanks for taking the time to show us all these creatures..Love, pianomum