Paint, Powder and Make-Up: The Art of Theater Make-Up from the Amateur and Class Room Viewpoint

Paint, Powder and Make-Up: The Art of Theater Make-Up from the Amateur and Class Room Viewpoint

Paint, Powder and Make-Up: The Art of Theater Make-Up from the Amateur and Class Room Viewpoint

Paint, Powder and Make-Up: The Art of Theater Make-Up from the Amateur and Class Room Viewpoint

Excerpt

Of all the arts of the actor, make-up is the most neglected. Many a successful professional, long after he has made a name for himself, will continue to study diligently speech and body development. Few actors will undertake a long role in New York without being coached outside of the rehearsals in the most minute details of their characterizations. Yet the make-up for the part is seldom considered until the excitement and turmoil of the dress rehearsal. This habit is obviously not conducive to the best results, since no actor can successfully convey to an audience a characterization with his face painted to represent another.

There was a time in the theater when costume and make-up were pure conventions. Neither the social position, age, or country of the character, nor the historical period of the play affected the clothes or the make-up of the actor and actress. With the beginning of the twentieth century there came about a slow but gradual change in these two arts, until the Moscow Art Theater about 1920 definitely set the convention, not of looking one's best, but of verisimilitude of character. Today, except for the amateur production of the lowest standard, and the poorer motion picture, the actors are made up to express the many aspects of their characters. But there is hardly a director of the high school play who has not had to soothe an hysterical actress at the dress rehearsal who has just discovered that her part of an old woman calls for a make-up that looks like one. The common conception that all actors on the stage have the inalienable right to look their prettiest, and to obtain beauty is the ultimate aim of grease paint must be fought by all teachers of acting from the earliest lecture of any course.

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