There are a lot of things I like about Revels. The community. The singing. The costumes. The ribbon sticks. Here’s something I don’t like: makeup. My goodness, stage makeup does not feel nice. And it doesn’t look so nice, either, up close.
That’s ok, because stage makeup isn’t meant to be seen up close. It has to be so heavy because of the bright stage lights. They cut right through the top layer of skin, I am told, and leave you looking like a ghost. That’s why the foundation has to be super-thick, so the light will bounce off of the makeup and go back to the audience’s eyes. Basically, so we’ll look human.
Stage makeup probably doesn’t look so bad if it’s put on by an expert. But the person who puts on my stage makeup is, for the most part, me. And I am most emphatically not a makeup expert. Fortunately, Revels is prepared for people like me. Signs are posted with the steps in makeup application, from face-washing to blush. Volunteers are on hand to do eyes and anything else we can’t figure out on our own, and middle-school-aged girls apply powder.
This year there’s a new addition to my makeup kit: False eyelashes. Yipe. I have actually worn false eyelashes once before, for the only show I ever did in college. (I was a Hot Box Doll in Guys & Dolls, and no, I will not be sharing photographs.) I think I must have put the eyelashes on myself then, but last night I just could not figure out how to do it. So a volunteer agreed to glue them on, reluctantly – she’d never put on false eyelashes before. I said I was ok with being at the bottom end of her learning curve.
The result: the false eyelashes landed way above my real eyelash line, like emaciated caterpillars who had lost their way, and my upper eyelids were glued partway open. The volunteer and I got sort of a collective case of the giggles. She wiped off the excess glue and sent me to rehearsal with functional, if slightly goofy, eyelids. Practice makes perfect, right?