Makeup skills help create fall play characters

Eleanor Kanerva
Contributing Writer

Zombie makeup
Cast members of “10 ways to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse” take a bow during one of the Nov. 20-22, performances. Photo from Echo archives

Drama department performs its fall play every year around Halloween. What most people don’t think about is the makeup that goes on behind the scenes.

This year’s play is a production of “10 Ways to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse”, which is a short comedy depicting ways of escaping zombies during an apocalypse. .

Alexandria Pettey, drama teacher, is in charge of the makeup for the production. Before teaching at WGHS, Pettey did the makeup for several musicals and plays. She also enjoys spending her free time practicing her makeup skills and trying out new techniques.

To help her, she recruited freshman Mary Gibson, freshman Kai Lawson and senior Isaac Groene for the makeup team. The art that the audience will see on the stage will be that of these students who’ve been practicing with Pettey. There isn’t just one way to do makeup as the process is unique for each student individually.

Pettey described it as being “created with students, and we prefer our process to be organic since no two faces are the same, so there is no distinct process.”

Thirty-three actors are in the play in total. All of them will wear makeup, and most of them will have some body makeup as well. Twenty-seven of them will wear zombie makeup while the other six will have general stage makeup.

Actor’s makeup can take anywhere from five to 15 minutes. The amount of time it takes mostly depends on how many bite marks the actor needs since masks have cut down the amount of time needed to finish a look. The special effects makeup to create the zombie looks consists of old theatre tricks and recipes. These looks are inspired by a combination of the walking dead and a picture that is printed on the masks that the actors will be wearing.

Some might wonder what’s so important about the makeup aspect of the play. Pettey said stage makeup is the “distinction between a person dressed as a zombie and an actor that becomes a zombie on stage.” Makeup is used to help to create an appearance for characters and enhance the role of an actor.

The performance will be in the Jerry R. Knight Auditorium at 7 p.m. on Oct. 28-30. Tickets are $10 a person.

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