I’m mentioned this in the past, but thought I’d reiterate it if you’ve not heard it. Let’s talk about Stage Makeup and Its Transformative Power for Students.
This is a true story.
When I was in seventh grade, I wanted to wear makeup. Of course, that was about 100 years ago, so let’s keep it in perspective…My mother wasn’t ready for that step in my life quite yet, but I was. Boy, was I ready.
I read in a Seventeen magazine that I could make my own “home made” mascara using charcoal and petroleum jelly. I went to work!
Now I’m not known to be very patient (although I am better now that I have grown older), so I looked around our house for the two ingredients I needed. Hmmm. I found a jar of petroleum jelly in my bathroom cabinet, but charcoal? The only charcoal I knew of was charcoal briquettes.
Being my impulsive self as well and not taking into account that perhaps a charcoal briquette was the wrong kind of charcoal for my DIY mascara, I mixed it into the petroleum jelly anyway. Yes. I. Used. A. Charcoal. Briquette. No kidding. Needless to say, it was a flop.
Upon entering our dining room for dinner that evening while modeling my “homemade mascara”, my mother let out an “Oh my!” Soon after she drove to a Merle Norman store and enrolled me in a class about makeup.
Luckily, I learned to apply makeup and in later years discovered in college that I really enjoyed designing stage makeup or theatrical makeup. It seems obvious that students would enjoy studying about stage makeup. It helps so much for novice actors to “see” what their character will look like. Coupled with a costume, some actors come to life as the character for the first time. It is really that magical.
Reasons To Study Theatrical Makeup
Character Transformation: Stage makeup is a powerful tool that allows actors to transform their appearance and effectively portray a wide range of characters. By studying stage makeup, theater students learn how to use makeup techniques to enhance facial features, create age, gender, or ethnic-specific looks, and convey emotions. This skill helps them bring their characters to life and make them more believable on stage.
Visual Communication: In theater, makeup serves as a visual language that communicates important information to the audience. Different makeup techniques can convey specific time periods, social statuses, or cultural backgrounds of characters. By understanding the principles of stage makeup, theater students learn how to use color, shading, highlighting, and contouring to visually communicate the desired message and enhance storytelling.
Versatility: Stage makeup is not limited to traditional theater productions. Various performing arts disciplines such as film, television, opera, and dance use stage makeup as well. Students can study to become a professional stage makeup artist and they’ve got themselves a job!
Collaboration and Teamwork: For particular productions using a certain style or concept, stage makeup involves collaboration with other artists, such as costume designers, lighting designers, and directors. One of the most important skills our students can learn is how to work with others because in the professional world of theater, it’s a team effort for certain.
Self-Sufficiency: In many theater companies (particularly those with small budget), actors are often responsible for applying their own makeup depending upon the budget of the show. By studying, designing and applying stage makeup theater students gain the ability to create their own character looks. Accordingly, this can be particularly beneficial in smaller productions, when working on independent projects. This independence allows actors to take more control over their creative process and in bringing their characters to life. What a terrific differentiation!
Understanding Lighting and Stage Effects: By studying stage makeup, theater students gain an understanding of how makeup interacts with stage lighting, ensuring that their character’s features remain visible and expressive even under different lighting conditions. Having this information helps actors develop makeup techniques to the specific requirements of a production. Consequently, this results in a more polished and professional performance.
A Bundle of Stage Makeup Units
You may be unaware, but I create theater education resources. You can purchase them here.
I have a bundle of stage makeup unit. Here’s its description for you:
SAVE 30%! This bundle contains 4 lessons on stage makeup (old age, neutral, circus, zombie and fantasy) and gives your students a chance to be makeup artists. They’ll view, study, take notes on concepts, apply the knowledge, design and apply their own ideas. These are great for an upper middle school ( a little challenging) or high school drama class.
Each Stage Makeup Lesson includes:
The History of Stage Makeup (separate file of PowerPoint slides & teacher’s lecture notes)
Theatre Quote page–great to use for discussion and/or bell ringers
Teacher’s Script–what I say and how I say it!
Source & Video link list ( old age, basic and circus and fantasy makeup tutorials, etc.)
Pinterest board links with examples for some lessons
If you are looking for a way to teach students about theaters around the world, check out these Choice Boards.
What are Choice Boards, you ask? In this case, my choice boards are a collection of links which lead to video clips. Students select the subjects they are most interested in, view the video clips and answer the questions. This is super differentiation! By tailoring instruction to meet individual needs. through content, process, products, the learning environment, ongoing assessment or flexible grouping, differentiation creates a successful approach to instruction.