TOUCHSTONE TUESDAYS 7: The Make Up Box

Hello All! And sorry for the week’s delay. I got a touch distracted by my mad decision to both direct and act in ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream’ on Salt Spring Island, where I live. We opened last week – went well, thanks very much for asking. So it seems appropriate that I go for a theatrical touchstone this week: my old make up box!

Make up boxHere it is, with some of its contents revealed. The actual make up is in that old brown cigar box. And when I say actual make up I am referring to the sticks I bought for make up class at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama… in 1975! So you can guess why I haven’t opened it. My Hazmet suit is at the cleaners.

Why a cigar box? My Dad, an actor himself, (especially in pre-war England) told me when I wanted to get a fancy dancy plastic multi-levelled make up container: ‘No real actor uses those. They use cigar boxes. Here, you can have my old one.’ I think he just didn’t want to lay out the cash! Beside it is my Jack O’ Clubs soap dish. Have no clue where I got it – but the Jack of Clubs is my card. I had a phase when I would draw it a statistically impossible number of times. Then, of course, I did write the JACK ABSOLUTE books. (Click on title to visit them). The towel was a gift from my good friend Bruce Winant, a wonderful actor who I met on the set of the Biblical Roman epic ‘AD – Anno Domini’ in Tunisia in 1985. He was later in the LA company of Les Miserables and gave it to me. The cardboard box contains facial hair – various disguises I have worn to enhance a character, or hide myself. Indeed in the photo you see a moustache that was the character: a chancer called Bernard in the BBC’s Franchise Affair circa 1987.

Eye patch

And the eye patch? Talk about disguise! I wore that in a production of ‘The Three Musketeers’ at the Bristol Old Vic in 1988. Annoyed that I’d spent all my life craving to be D’Artagnan only to find myself playing D’Artagnan’s victim, Cahusac of the Cardinal’s Guards, I decided to distinguish myself. Much to the disgust of the other actors, when I suddenly appeared sporting it at a dress rehearsal. Apparently it pulls focus a bit on stage. Who’d have thought!

 

ObPuck

And here’s a shot from my latest use of make up – just a touch around the eyes. I am playing Oberon in that ‘Dream’ on Salt Spring Island, BC right now – well, this coming weekend, if you are about! Oh, and that’s my son Reith playing Puck. Now there’s a guy who really likes his make up!

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