See how Shrek actor Luke O’hagan becomes an ogre
A BEHIND-THE-SCENES LOOK AT THEATRE MAKE-UP
The Toowoomba Philharmonic Society is bringing a much-loved Tony Award-winning performance to town, in the form of Shrek — The Musical.
Innumerable hours of preparation goes into a production like this, with so much more than dress rehearsals going on behind the scenes.
One aspect of bringing your favourite characters to life, is theatre make-up, applied by a team of qualified and beyond-talented artists.
One such lady is Tennielle Copson.
Tennielle studied a Diploma of Cinemagraphic Make-up through the Australian Acadamy of Cinemagraphic Make-up in Brisbane.
She learned to do everything from beauty to special effects make-up, like prosthetics and wounds.
Tennielle and her team will be responsible for creating the faces and other attributes which make Shrek, Donkey, Fiona, the Gingerbread Man and the rest, so familiar to fans across the globe.
She created all the design concepts for the different characters and she’ll have face charts detailing the actors’ looks for the team of make-up artists to replicate onto the actors’ faces.
To make a stage actor look like any of these characters, is a monumental task which requires technical knowledge of different paints, brushes and adhesives, as well as countless hours of practice.
The make-up has to withstand the rigours of performing, from the heat given off by stage lights, to the sweat and natural skin oils of the performers and movements of their faces.
Specially made by Tennielle, Shrek’s lightweight cowl (the head piece onto which his ears are built) consists of a special absorbent foam, which is great for dealing with sweat on stage.
“We use a water-based adhesive to glue the prosthetic down. It’s a standard in the industry and adheres for a long period of time without irritation,” said Tennielle, adding that the actors’ safety is their first consideration.
According to her, one of the most involved characters to create, is Shrek himself, due to his cowl-piece.
A simplified description of the process is setting the cowl and gluing it down, smoothing the edges of the prosthetic, painting and contouring, and setting the paint with a waterproof sealant.
“This takes at least an hour to complete,” she said. For actor Luke O’hagan, playing Shrek is a bucket list role.
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for ages,” he said. Luke has been acting since 2014 and singing since he was seven-years-old and he uses the costume and make-up to enhance the character of Shrek, instead of worrying about being uncomfortable.
“Uncomfortable is a very Shrek thing to be. Fighting against the costume and make-up is a losing battle, so it’s better to use them,” he said, adding that he’s sure his cowl and make-up will hold up well during his performance.
As you might expect, the make-up is hard to remove and takes its toll on the performers’ skin, which is why Luke hopes to give his skin some TLC after the show.