TAYA Students Learn History, Art of Stage Makeup

OSWEGO – As long as theater has existed, actors have used stage makeup.

From ancient Greece to the theater of the Orient to present-day Broadway, theatrical makeup has been an integral part of any play.

The use and application of makeup for the theater has evolved over thousands of years.

And when it came time to teach this important skill, artistic director Matt Fleming turned to Oswego Players’ resident makeup artist, Ashley Murtha.

She and her mom, Beverly, sometimes act as a duo when it comes to regular Players’ productions.

Hands-on lesson

You can tell from the picture, that the students were captivated by Ashley’s artistry as she leads the group through many of the basics of makeup application.

Creating a believable character is one of the greatest challenges an actor faces when performing in a show.

Actors must consider a host of factors.

What does the character sound like? How does he or she move? And of course there’s the often-parodied question, “What’s my character’s motivation?”

One thing that can help an actor flesh out a role into a believable character is stage makeup.

So it became most important that the Theater Arts Youth Academy students learn as much as they could about the history and creative application of makeup during their time in the program.

Theatrical makeup is inseparable from the act of performance itself.

The aim of theatrical makeup is to delineate and enhance the role of a character and to give performers an additional tool for conveying the characters being performed.

Stage makeup is often used to create visual stereotypes or clichés that will be readily understood by the audience.

Stage makeup is usually much more colorful and graphic than ordinary cosmetic makeup.

Making her sessions with the students interactive while explaining each technique in detail made a huge impression on these young thespians.

And of course, the most fun occurred when everyone had an opportunity to make up one of their friends in the group.

The first semester of the Theater Arts Youth Academy workshops wrapped up last weekend, but the learning doesn’t end. Now the group moves into the practicum stage of the program as they prepare for their actual stage production in March.

Every member of the class will be participating in the hilarious one-act production of “Snow White and the Queen of Mean,” which they will produce on the Frances Marion Brown Theater March 8 at 8 p.m., 9 at 2 p.m. and 10 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are available by calling the box office at 315-343-5138 or by going to oswegoplayers.org