Adventures in eyeliner
By the time you read this column, the Village Arts production of “Les Miserables,” will be completed. But as I write, there is one more night remaining in the sold-out four-night run.
So far, it’s been an incredibly successful show and I think audiences have enjoyed it.
It’s been fun, and like for most of the cast, it’s made for some long days and short nights of sleep. It’s definitely created some new experiences.
The most interesting is my foray into wearing makeup.
That’s right, makeup.
I should mention that when I joined the cast I had no clue that at some point I’d be powdering my nose, as the saying goes.
But during one of the dress rehearsals, we also practiced painting our faces.
This is the first play I’ve ever participated in, so needless to say, it was the first time I’ve ever worn makeup.
Back when I was the sports editor at the Minot Daily, I used to co-host a program called Press Pass with the local sports anchor from KMOT. I clearly remember that the anchor was nearly always wearing at least some makeup, but I never did.
I guess I can see why the performers wear it. If you’re sitting in the back third of the auditorium, the actors probably look like a bunch of relatively blank and expressionless faces.
But when you’re up close working with the other actors, everyone, especially the males, look a little ridiculous.
Theater makeup isn’t too complex. I painted on some of what I think is called foundation, basically just brushing it all over my neck and face. Everyone on stage apparently must need to have rosy cheeks so I added some rouge.
So far, so good, and if I do say so myself I wasn’t looking too bad. Nothing that you’d want to take home to show off to your family, ladies, but not too bad.
This is where my application started going poorly.
They have eyeliner pencils that the actors use to darken their eyebrows and eyes. I got as far as the eyebrows, but my first two attempts at applying eyeliner didn’t go well.
Initially, I tried to keep my eyes open and just sort of pencil in around them. That didn’t work. My eyeliner looked more like a shiner it was so far away from my eyes.
As the nights of the play went on, I slowly got a little better. I realized that if you close your eyes and run the line right down the middle it works a little better, but I’m still not as proficient as some of the actors.
More than anything, the heat seems to be wreaking havoc on the makeup situation. The ladies are constantly backstage fixing and reapplying because those stage lights will just melt your fake face clear off if you’re out there enough.
It probably doesn’t quite qualify as makeup, but one of the fun props that I also found out about during the play is this fake dirt that they have.
Like the makeup, you just brush it on. I got a little heavy-handed with it the first time, grabbing a handful to smear onto my arms for a chain gang scene.
I could’ve used a little more of a lesson in how to apply it. My little handful was enough to cover and entire body and I was so dark that I looked more like an islander than a dirty convict.
Like with the regular makeup, I eventually figured out the proper application.
But after this week, I don’t plan on wearing any more makeup as I move on to other summer activities. Unless it can help my golf game.