Tech Week

It’s tech week for Ragtime. That means that my life is basically the Show.

Tech week is also known as “dress rehearsal” to the non-theater world, even though costumes are usually added last during tech week. The “tech” is lights, scene changes, sound effects, and, in our case, orchestra. Costumes usually have to be on for the last few rehearsals, but some people, like myself, like to get into them earlier; and I usually always wear my show shoes as soon as we start blocking, so that they can be sufficiently broken in.

First tech is usually quite long, because it’s the first time you’re adding all the different elements together, and that can lead to snafus/ delays/re-dos. It’s just part of the process, and once you’ve done tech week, you know to come prepared for all others. (This means; FOOD AND DRINK. Because a hungry cast is a cranky cast). We are fortunate to have a great crew, so our tech has gone relatively smoothly.

Tonight was first dress–mandatory first dress, that is, with hair/makeup, and all costumes. This show, as you might imagine, is really costume heavy, given that it deals with three different groups–upper class WASPs, Harlem residents, and European immigrants–as well as being set in a particular time and place (NYC and environs in the early 20th century). So there is a certain aesthetic you have to adhere to.

Here, you can see it–the three groups are represented. I’m on the right, representing the Immigrant chorus–blacks, grays, dark colors. Next to me is Michael, who plays the Little Boy, and he starts the show in a sailor suit, but goes into whites/creams/beiges as the show progresses. Catherine in the middle is in the Harlem chorus, and they are in rich, deep tones–purples, emeralds, rich golds and reds. On the end we have another example of a typical New Rochelle WASP boy outfit–white/cream suit with white shirt.

So there’s a lot of costumes. Some of them we rented.(For the leads, mostly, or parts like Admiral Perry that require a certain look.)

It’s not a full dress rehearsal without makeup though!

This is my stage makeup for the show–at least in its first run tonight. For a show like this, we just use a heavier hand in application–I don’t need to do anything special to age myself (like I did for Earnest), or look a certain way. (I’m playing an Italian immigrant, and my people are Italian–my dad’s side is entirely Italian, and came over about the same period the show is set.)

So here’s what I did:

FACE: Cover Girl concealer under my eyes; Bobbi Brown liquid to powder foundation in Ivory; Bobbi Brown pressed powder in Pale Yellow (trust me, it works), and Bobbi Brown pot rouge in Truffle pink. Normally I use a powder blush but I”d forgotten it so I used the cream I had in my purse. It worked well.

EYES: Lancome brow pencil; Cover Girl eye quad for blue eyes (which make my eyes look GREEN, go figure?). It’s four shades applied to different areas on the lid/lash line for definition. They’re not super sparkly or shimmery, which looks weird under the lights. Vegas Showgirl is not our look here. I lined my eyes with the blue powder in the compact. (using brushes of course, not crappy sponge applicators that come with these things!). On my lashes I used Maybelline’s Falsies mascara, because I hate wearing false lashes, and this does the trick pretty well, I think.

LIPS: Very important, so people can see my words! 🙂 Here I used Revlon lipliner in natural and Avon lipstick in Mocha Pink.  Another combo I use a lot is Lancome lip liner in caramel and Clinique lipstick in Beauty.

HAIR: Well, hair is a devil for me. For this show I use lots of hairspray (L’Oreal Elnett) to give it volume, then pull it back into a bun about the middle of my head. I puff parts out with my fingers to give it volume and don’t pin it back too tightly. I use either an elastic or small claw clips to achieve the bun shape. I try to leave it a bit looser around my face to give my face a more attractive look instead of really tight/English Schoolmarm look. The hair is still evolving.

So that is what I do on a tech/ performance night. Usually I do my makeup at the theater. I always do my hair there. Costumes are stored there, but I am responsible for my shows (character shoes from Capezio in black) and hose. I’m wearing hose for this show because of the character shoes–I don’t want to go barefoot and socks can be not so great for keeping feet cool. If I was wearing my ankle boots, I’d wear socks, because they’d be covered. But in this show (and in musicals where I have to move more), I like character shoes.

So, whoa, long post, but this gives you some insight into the physical prep for a performance. Tomorrow I’ll talk about the rest of it–body and voice!


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