For Musical Lovers. Working on the production of Guys & Dolls at the GuildHall - of Dance & Drama

Updated: Jun 17, 2020

Antonia Spicer Hair & Make-up Artist - My World Behind The Scenes

Hair & Wig Designer for The Guild-Hall's Production of Guy's & Dolls

As there are rumours of a Guys and Dolls movie remake in the works It made me think of sharing my experience working on a show that is a thoroughly enjoyable example of musical comedy at its finest! so when I was offered the position of supervising the hair, wigs and make-up for The Guild-Hall of Music & Drama's production, I was delighted, and embraced the opportunity with open arms!.

I loved what came with the journey from my initial design mood-board meeting with the production designer to walking in on an early stage rehearsal where one was surrounded by the huge talent and dedication from all departments.

My Pre Show Duties for 25 Cast members

Having discussed desired styles on moodboards and charcter requirements, it was my responsiblity, within budget, to purchase the hair, wig pieces and make-up dressing room materials. I designed the 'Switch' hair-piece concept - that I share in detail below. I then went around all the casts dressing rooms to instruct on make-up and hair so that every cast member was comfortable and prepared. I also arranged a person to cut the cast members hair on the last day of rehearsals.

Working On Adelaide's Hair

One of my responsiblities during performances was to prepare and maintain Adelaide's hair, one of the lead characters. We decided on using her real hair rather than a wig when we could see the stage lighting complimented her colouring greatly.

I had just 15 minutes prior to curtain call to set and style her hair, allowing 30 minutes for make-up and warm ups. It was helpful that I was working with thick hair which allowed it to set and hold quickly and effectively.

With cast members call time being just 45 minutes prior to each show, adrenalines rang high whilst at the same time it was as smooth as clock-work.

Adelaide's Make-up

The majority of performers will learn the craft of make-artstry so that they are able to apply their character make-up throughout their performances. The job of a make-up artist, and this applies to when I was working on this performance, is generally to maintain the make-up during the peformance. This might be powdering faces and fixing make-up smudges.

So, what then were my key duties post rehearsals, from the opening night and beyond..if make-up is mostly taken care of my the performers...?

I was responsible for switching hair-pieces on the cast members who were playing two roles; Hot Box Dancers and Mission Band Members

How did I transform 6 characters portraying opposite images?

The Mission Band Members hair was styled with curls at the front for texture, then pulled back and dressed into a structured bun.

For the Hot Box Dancers I chose to buy a hair-piece with movement and a volumising effect. The Mission Band bun was an anchor for attaching and securing the hair-piece over it. With plenty of grips they were complete within a minute or two.

Hair. Wigs. Make-up Maintenance during the nine performances

Throughout the show my job was supervising all cast members hair and make-up fixes and smudges. There were also male performers who required a full face of powder, ensuring facial hair (posteiche moustaches, in this case), were kept secure and in place.

Adelaide's character had many changes throughout her performance so I was always having to fix her hair and make-up.

The challenges of Live Performances

Well it was a huge success in everyway - just one minior hitch with the air-conditioning one day!, so of course powdering faces played an integral part!.

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