Welcome Backstage – Piazza Makeup

by Kristen Leinbach, Dramaturg

1950s-hairstyles

Makeup and hairstyle inspirations

As our rehearsals and production process get well underway, we are ecstatic to begin seeing all of our ideas come together.  At each production meeting for the show we spend time discussing design and production ideas such as costumes, the set, the lighting, the sound, the makeup and the props.  Our main focus is on finding a way to bring 1953 Florence, Italy to life on our stage and for ourl audience.

For this blog post I would like to welcome you back stage to our production meetings and introduce you to concept ideas from our makeup designers.  The makeup designers for The Light in the Piazza are Mary Beth Bosen and Allyson Thaxton, both students here at BYU studying Theatre Education and Theatre Arts Studies respectively.  When talking with Mary about their makeup designs, she sent me the following:

“Ahhh hair and makeup…what a wonderful thing!

For this show, our main goal for the hairs and makeup is to visually support and texturize the 1950’s Technicolor world that Scott, our director, has established. The nature of the piece as well as our director’s concept got us thinking about ways that we could draw visual parallels to the looks of 1950’s film stars-both of America and Italy-who’s style and personalities have shaped so much of the images we associate with the time period today.

In the phases of our designs, Allyson and I been working on blending iconic silhouettes, shapes, and colors that made up popular fashion (for hair and makeup) to support the personality, lifestyle, and just overall vibe that each character gives off.

clark-gable-4075

Inspiration photo

For our particular production we have some unique challenges and opportunities especially in terms of hair design on a Period piece like this one.  We’ve been asked to use as much of the actors’ hair as we possibly instead of wigging them up! This sounds easy enough, but considering that 50’s hairstyles were much shorter (and more elaborate) than those we sport today, this means that we have the splendid opportunity to do a lot of researching and a lot of experimenting to create pretty designs that suggest the time period as well as being functional, do-able, and maintain-able on real heads of hair!  As far as the female cast members are concerned, there may be a few hair trims, but largely we will be adapting and applying period hairstyles to their current hair length. Thank goodness for bobby pins and hairspray! Oh, and a few men in our show get to grow their own moustaches in order to fit the 1950’s look we are creating!”

Keep checking back as I will be updating once a week regarding further production concepts as well as blocking and staging as we continue to create the world of The Light in the Piazza.

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