This was my first time applying makeup for a stage performance and it was very different from any other of my previous experiences. I was learning as I went and a lot of the time I had to use my initiative and just do what was best at the moment. As this was a small show for the Imperial College London, the actors did not have that much prep time and there were only two or three artists on each night to complete everyone’s makeup. On the very first day, having three artists was not enough but on the days that followed, there were only two in total so I had to work like I had two sets of arms, applying makeup for one actor after another and each only had about ten minutes. So it made more sense to ask the actors who played small roles to apply their foundation first and we prioritized, doing what was needed first.
The play was based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, but set in a more futuristic world with robots and spaceships. Hence the makeup looks for this performance were very bold and colourful, perfect for a stage performance. Everything was OTT and dramatized, but we kept the patterns simple, avoiding too much detail as the actors were going to be seen from a distance. On the first day, I realised that some of the makeup application were not big and bold enough and a few needed even more simplicity. By the last day of working for this performance, the lightning bolts reached to the top of their eyebrows, the eyeliners lengthened to their temples and the blushers were as red as a chimpanzee’s bottom.
This whole experience was highly valuable because I learnt to prioritize and apply makeup that is suitable for the situation. For a show of this many people with a time limit of two hours, it was a struggle with just two makeup artists, but it wasn’t impossible. If I had to do it by myself, though, I don’t know how I would have coped. I was lucky to have had a close bunch of makeup artist friends to call for help whenever I needed it.
Makeup Artists: Tammi Nguyen, Jutheanne Cruz-Wild, Bianca Pereira, Carmen Goetz, Peggy Xu
Photographer: Nam Nguyen
Location: Imperial College London
To view all photos from this show click here