I Am An Actor (TM): in which I make a paper mask and it kind of sucks but that’s OK

18 Jul

My absence from Ye Blogge is partly due to rehearsals for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in which I’m playing a female Bottom*. Also I’ve been watching people I know do amazing things and supporting my Pride In Them in its eternal war with my Bitterness and Jealousy (Pride is winning, but some days it’s a tough call). But mostly the rehearsal thing.

This is one of those shows with a costume designer. Which is standard, I realize, but not in most of the gigs I’ve had in the last couple of years (to wit: ren faires). Plus, I hear she’s a good costume designer, which puts this show leaps and bounds ahead of the last show-with-a-costume-designer I was in (which I won’t talk about except to say that my costume was hideous and mostly constructed from hot glue WHILE I WAS WEARING IT). So I’m pretty stoked. Not having to worry about what I’m going to wear is a nice change. But since I have nothing to post about on this front, and I’ve been working on The Secret Project pretty much exclusively, I’m kind of at a loss. I mean sure, I could format and post any of the dozens** of Dressing the Character profiles I have hanging around the ol’ hard drive, but I don’t like to be predictable, so I don’t do what I’m supposed to do. Which in turn becomes predictable.


Last weekend we had a rehearsal that was full of the Artsy and the Fartsy. More the former, though I attended a bachelorette party the night before, so there may have been a little of the latter. I’m not at liberty to say. One of the activities we did was character mask-making. I am…what’s the word? Oh, right. BAD AT ART. But after the blind sculpting exercise, which I hated for reasons I can’t quite determine, this was actually pretty enjoyable! Here’s the mask I came up with:

Elmer’s Glue is black now, BTW. The bottle said “Dries clear!” The bottle lied.

Full masks make me feel a little like I’m going to suffocate at any given second omfg get it off get it off, so the director cut me a quick half-mask out of construction paper. I was a little confused at first, because what do you mean what does Bottom look like? Bottom looks like me, except when Bottom looks like a donkey, which I’m trying not to think about because Bottom doesn’t realize she’s a donkey. But I plunged ahead, picked up a brown marker, and started to color some hair, and was suddenly struck with inspiration. My Bottom is a wannabe social-climber, a pretender to knowledge and talents she doesn’t necessarily possess. Her beauty ideal would be the same as that of the court! So I dove into my knowledge of Elizabethan makeup and came up with what you see here.

I was so glad the construction paper wound up being pink, because it allowed for a really obvious attempt at white face (made with scraps from the masks of the higher-status characters). I finished coloring the brown hair, then colored the red over top like a bad dye job. The eyes are lined in kohl. I did my best to give the impression of a high forehead, but I obviously can’t draw, so that didn’t happen as much as I would have liked. Then I found one of those stamp markers in the shape of a castle, put four of them on the front of the mask as representations of dreams, and went to town on the back. Also, stars. And hearts. Because Bottom is dreamy. But I forgot to take a picture of the back. Even my lack of any sort of ability to make good art wound up working, because Bottom is a creature of enthusiasm, not talent.

Ultimately it was an interesting and helpful exercise. To be honest, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it and how much it helped me learn about the character.

*I can’t wait to see what this does to my search results

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: