Listen to "Stage makeup and styling" on Spreaker.
  • People will judge you, no matter how you look. Get over it. At least let them judge you based on how YOU wanna look, not how other people want you to look.
  • You have the right to enjoy makeup, and to talk about makeup, and it doesn’t make you dumb.
  • Makeup is another way to artistically express yourself, use it in your own way. Don’t hold back. It’s nobody’s business how you wanna look. You’re not harming anyone with it.
  • Makeup is not only youtube tutorials, it’s a part of culture and human’s history. Makeup has been a part of rituals, in social life, wars, arts, subcultures, it showed your status, and has been changing with societies, as times were changing. Makeup was already popular in Ancient Egypt and we all recognize Cleopatra or Nefretete in makeup. On the other hand, Queen Victoria didn’t  approve makeup saying, that you should stay pale (not tan like physical workers) and with no makeup (which she believed was ment for prostitutes).  Also you would not mistake geisha’s makeup with any other – and so on.
  • In modern makeup, you can see changes with every decade – nowadays we started sculpting our faces with contouring with bronzers and highlighters, and yes, Kardashians have a lot to do with it, but look how different people lookes in 50s, 70s, 80s, and even 90s! For sure there was no contouring, and barely any brows! And it comes to fashion – be aware of it if you please, and then adapt it to yourself, take elements that you enjoy.
  • You can use makeup not only to look more beautiful, but also ugly, unnatural, to look like someone else, to hide behind a camouflage, there are as many ways to use it, as many people who use it.
  • The most common way to use makeup, and you have a right for it, is to look beautiful. The only difference between us and the rest of the animals is that usually it’s men who make themselves beautiful to attract females.
  • What does it mean to look beautiful? Basically, to look healthy and symmetrical. We correct shapes of our eyes and lips with liners to make them symmetrical. We put the blush and highlagter to look healthy and glowing. We shape our faces with bronzers and shadows, like painters with chiaroscuro.
  • Putting makeup on can be your little meditation/ritual before the show, that help you focus and be present.
  • Listen to stylists like you listen to improv teachers – learn from them, try their ways, but don’t forget to stay who you are and adapt the rules to your artistic vision. You have the right to put green shadow on your eyelids no matter if it compliments your eye color or not. If your soul is black, don’t force yourself to wear colors when all you want is black and heavy shoes.
  • One of the general rules in makeup is that you should choose if you wanna put an accent on eyes, or lips. When you go bold with lipstick, you keep your eyes subtle. When you put on big, bold smokey eyes, you leave your lips be.
  • BUT, when it comes to stage, you don’t have to hold back. Look at Lady Gaga. Does she hold back? It’s stage. It’s theatre. It’s a show. Your show. Nobody looks at performers on any stage saying „wow they wear too much makeup”. It’s really hard to wear so much makeup that it bothers some audience members. It’s like worrying that you’ll gain to much muscles if you do heavy lifting at the gym as a woman and „look like a man”. Seriously, is there any field in the whole world, where we don’t worry about fitting to some delusional standards? So yes, you would have to workout few hours everyday to look like a bikini model. So don’t hold back with your exercises. I mean, with your stage makeup.
  • The stage light eats your makeup. You should be aware of it. If you don’t put anything on your face, on a human level you may look a bit tired and pale. On performer’s level, you loose some face expression, and your emotions may not be clear to the audience in the back, especially if you’re a blonde like me, which makes everything on my face quite pale and monochromatic. Putting some accent on your eyes, lips, and even brows (look at Daenerys Targaryen) , help the audience see what emotions are you playing. If you put on your regular makeup, on stage it will look like makeup-no-makeup. If you put on more than usual in life, your makeup will look just normal on stage. I put on a glitter, golden Rihanna highlighter on my cheeks as a celebration of the show, and you probably wouldn’t even notice before the afterparty.
  • Stage likes shine, highlighters, glitter, glimmer. Again, it’s a show. On the other hand, cameras don’t like shine that much, so if you’re going for example to television, you may want to put some mattes on your face. On tape it may be too much, and too distracting, if you are there to say something.
  • I’d recommend to you to think, what is your stage persona. How do you behave on stage, when you’re being private, or host the show, how do you talk to the audience, what is your energy like? What clothes and makeup do you wear to celebrate going on stage? Do you even celebrate? What pumps you up? For example, my routine is to put on some bold lips and eyeliner (and obviously a golden highlighter), to braid my hair, on put them in any shape that will not cover my face (as it’s the mirror of a soul of my charater), and put on some clothes that will nice, but also comfortable – all of this preparation to affect my performance in a positive way. When it comes to actions, I’m surely more energetic on stage, and more open to strangers in the audience, and after the show I usually sit more quietly with friends and I’m more shy around even the same people from the audience.
  • It’s ok if you don’t have a clear stage persona. Or you just can’t name it, because it’s you, and it’s always hard to look at ourself from a distance. And either way, you don’t have be the same everytime on stage. You can be different every time, look differently, and act differently. You don’t have to be you. It’s theatre. Do theatre. Play. And if someon tells you afterwards, „it wasn’t you”, well who would have known they know better than you, right?
  • Don’t do things that will affect your performance in a negative way. Clothes in which you can’t move freely, or that you have to check if something is not too high or too low. Makeup so heavy that you can’t hug anyone or touch your sleeve with your lips not to stain it. Anything, that makes you uncomfortable and needs to be controled will put you in your head, and as Viola Spolin said, then you put a mirror between you and your partner, and then you can’t really see them, because you’re busy judging how you look and if you’re good enough.
  • It breaks my heart when women ask if they can wear dress or lipstick on stage, and if it forces them to play only women. This is wrong on so many levels, that I’ll just stick to one. Practical one. When you enter the stage in the beginning of the show, and you welcome the audience, most of cases you are all private, talking to the audience, or you are there just neutral in stage, open positions getting some suggestions. So. The audience takes how you (all) look and behave in this phase as your tabula rasa, your base that you will build on. These are the performers. Nobody will say „hey she wears a dress she can’t play a dog”… How you start, shows the improviser, not a character yet. And if someone says you can’t play a soldier while having a lipstick on, the problem isn’t your stage styling. Oh and just wear some leggins under, so you still can stand on your head. Not that improvisers do that really. But it’s good to have a choice.
  • If it take a step back and take a look at the group you’re playing with, it’s good to have some integrity in style, to show that you’re a team. It doesn’t mean you all have to dress the same, black and barefeet (been there, done that)l, or that you all have to wear t-shirts with your team’s logo (please at least consider other options, it’s not a school camp – and now you’ll say „but we like it and you said to follow our hearts so we’re keeping them – and I’ll go GOODD NOOO). You can decide on a color, like wearing green shirts, or ties, or colorful socks, you can decide on jeans and some t-shirts with no print, whatever suits, you, but it’s good to avoid situation, when one person comes in a suit, and the other in sweatpants, if it’s not serving the purpose of a show. Everyone should be comfortable, so don’t force anyone to wear a dress or tie if they hate it, but find a way in frames of this style, that will suit everyone – remember, we don’t want the style to affect the performance in a negative way.
  • It’s good to be aware of what are comunicating to the audience through how we look. Respect the audience. They payed to see you. With money, or with time. And you can give them back their money, but you can’t give them back that time. So be nice. There are two things someone said that I remember, when it comes to how-nice-should-I-look-like. One is, dress one level up than the audience. The second one, dress like you were going to meet your girlfriend’s parents for the first time. You wanna be nice and decent, but not too fancy.
  • If you’re preparing styling for a genre show, do your research. Check out films, art that is already there in that genre, search for pictures on pinterest, check cosplays. Find what elements are specific to this style. Not only clothing, but makeup, props. You can build a baroque style just based on makeup, you can build steampunk style just based on props. If every player hasa t least a small detail, this constistency brings life to the genre.
  • Be aware, that history is not the same kind of source and pop-culture, which may be useful if you’re planning to produce a historical show. Let’s take Vikings. The helmets with horns are not related to Vikings per se, but to Wagner’s opera. All the beautiful braids they had in a cool tv series was not a general style in doing their hair, just one of, like now. They were really taking care of their apperance tho, also putting their hair together in different ways, so it wouldn’t affect their performance in battle in a negative way. See what I did there?
  • Adapt! Use the actual elements of generes and historical periods, and use them in artistic way. And have fun. Make your art! Make theatre.

model: Weronika Uziak
makeup: Małgorzata Różalska