The end of the second week of rehearsals is in sight and we’re still in the time of the roaring twenties. Following on from some tremendous work by the costume and make-up departments, our photographer Hilda Lobinger has shot the ensemble in the style of the original Ziegfeld Follies poster. We’ll publish the photos of the production here shortly.
During the photo shoot we visited the two make-up artists responsible for this production, Miriam Waldenspuhl and Daniel Riedl (both 1st year students in Make-up for Theatre and Film), who went on to explain a bit about their course and their work.
Which characters in the production are you doing the make-up for, and what is special in devising each make-up design?
Daniel: I’m doing Kitty’s make-up. I chose this character because I wanted to let my imagination run riot and to really do justice to the Glamour Girl. In this case, it’s the glitter, false eyelashes, exaggerated make-up, finger wave hairstyle and also a wig specially made for her. This wig – a white-silver-blonde finger wave hairstyle with glittery cap – is very special and striking. I think I just wanted to create a bit of an eye-catcher for myself. As well as Kitty, I’m also doing the make-up for George, the witness at the wedding, who is more of a sunny-boy and more down-to-earth type. He has a laid-back, relaxed and natural style.
Miriam: I’m doing Aldolpho’s make-up. I chose him because the role interested me and because he’s a funny kind of chap – a pure caricature in the piece. With him I can play with lots of characteristics and exaggerate them – in fact, like you can with Kitty. I also chose Aldolpho because I wanted to do the make-up for a man where I could exaggerate a lot. As a further character I chose the double role of the maid/journalist, because I like her look. She gets a wig which is specially reworked from new – that’s something quite special.
For this production, you’re in charge of the make-up. How does the team look which is supporting you?
Daniel: The whole first year in make-up is responsible for this piece. Miriam and I are directing the make-up, but we’re supported by our lecturers. So we’re not thrown in at the deep end, but are learning how the job functions and how a make-up artist functions under a directorial position.
Miriam: Our lecturers, who have their special areas in different fields, support us in this; for example, there is a lecturer in wig production, one for hair styles, and another for make-up. We, the first year students, design the piece and also design the make-up. In daily life in the theatre it’s normal that the costume designers develop a rough design for the make-up and hand it on to us. But in this case it’s unusual that we have designed the make-up ourselves and are working together with the costume department.
How did you end up studying make-up?
Miriam: For me the decision was made quite early on. Whilst I was still at school – at the age of 15, 16 – I wanted to become a make-up artist, and prepared myself for that as best as I could. After my Abitur (school-leaving examination) I took a short two-year training course in hairdressing followed by a year’s practical training at the Staatstheater Stuttgart in make-up for opera, ballet and theatre. There I assisted with a few productions – sometimes even more major works, for example with children’s opera. And to fill in before my make-up course, I studied art history for a semester.
Daniel: I worked as an extra at the Graz Opera and that’s where I really discovered my passion for the whole thing. Over a period of about a year it became clear that I wanted to do make-up. After some thorough research on the internet, I came across the study programme here at the Akademie and it was immediately clear to me that I wanted to do this degree course. Before the course began I taught myself as much as possible about the subject.
How is your Bachelor programme structured? What is the relationship between practical work and theory?
Miriam: It’s structured differently according to which year you’re in. We started on practical work straight away and learnt the craft in a more project-orientated way. But it’s often the case that you start with a course in the basics. It always depends how the year is structured, on how much prior experience everyone has, and which projects are coming up.
Daniel: But to get involved and put things into practice, that’s required from the very first week. I believe that everyone can have fun in this, and that “learning by doing” is somehow the best way.
The starting point for the photo shoots was the 1920s. What’s special about this period and did you like the work?
Miriam: It was great fun. The twenties is one of my favourite periods, because I find the style in this period simply beautiful. It was the time when new ideas emerged. Women wore shorter hair, had different hair styles. Wavy hairstyles and make-up came in. In the photo shoot we tried to reflect this, for example with the finger wave hairstyle, with this particular curve of the lips – the cupid’s bow – or with accentuated eyes. But in the process we’ve tried to interpret it for today. We didn’t want to make the young actors who were photographed look old and frumpy, so we asked ourselves how would this look appear today?
Daniel: Exactly, so that the whole thing is given a fresher touch and doesn’t have such a morbid appearance. We didn’t want to create an exact replica of the make-up. It would work, but it would be a bit off-putting today if, for example, the eyebrows are just painted. To our present-day eyes it is simply more difficult to handle this – then it just becomes rather unnatural.
Is there a piece of a film which you’d like to design the make-up for one day?
Daniel: There are several. History films would definitely interest me, because you can draw on rich resources from many centuries. I’d pick out the jewels, so to speak, and yet remain true in some way – and I would still be able to include something of myself in the overall effect.
Miriam: Historical films would also appeal to me, particularly from the angle of craftsmanship – for example, to produce a wig which looks real. I once read the book “Das Spiel ist aus” by Jean-Paul Sartre. It really gripped me and I tried to find the film of it. It’s set in a second unreal world, and I’d be interested in doing something like this one day.