What a week! Last Monday through Saturday I spent at least four hours a day in our theatre and backstage, between dress rehearsals and three performances of our fall play, Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Overall, it was a great experience, but there is nothing so tiring (and fulfilling) as the final week of preparations and running a show.
One element of theatre that I do not have much experience with is special make-up, but for this show I got to work a lot in this unknown territory. I am used to doing normal stage make-up, but this time I got to experiment with aging and color make-up. My friend Amber and I were in charge of making a few of the characters look moderately aged, so we had the daunting task of making college students appear on stage to have believable wrinkles and grey hair. Also, for two of the characters I experimented with special color make-up to give the former (my character) sort of flames or wings around the eyes, and the latter spots of scale-like skin. It was a daunting task, but we learned and it became easier every time.
Something that I enjoy about doing a Shakespeare play (every two years at Erskine) is the chance to work with a larger cast. Because we have a smaller theatre department, we tend to do shows with a smaller cast; but when we do Shakespeare, as in this play, we bring many new people into the theatre.
On the other hand, there are challenges as well, the main one being that we do not have a very extensive capability for our sets and lighting. Although we have a fairly good number of committed actors who have experience and skills on stage, we do not have very many students who specialize in set design or lighting. However, we are all willing to learn and do what we can, so somehow we always make it work; for example, in this play we experimented more with the lighting, adding a little more to the effects of different scenes.
Although it always seems to be over quickly, after months of preparation it is nice to have more free time all of the sudden! Besides, there are always new projects to be working on, and more upcoming performances to be preparing for at Erskine, so there is no shortage of enjoyable activities to occupy my time. On to the next one!