[LightSeeker] The untold story of hair and makeup

A kiss from the princess is all it took to turn a frog into a prince. But what happens if we need to transform over three dozen people into imps, fantasy warriors, forest tribes and other out-of-this-world characters? Apart from costumes, we turned to our team of hair and makeup artists to lend their Midas touch to the cast of LightSeeker.

The eyes, the eyes, the eyes

“Although this is a fantasy musical, the Director wanted the characters to retain their humanness. For example the imps. Even though they are considered forest creatures, we had to make them look more human than animal. That’s one of our biggest challenges,” shared June Goh, head of the hair and makeup team.

Transforming The Imp
Transforming The Imp

After rounds of trial and error, the team decided to focus on the imps’ eyes and keep the rest of their features natural-looking. By using colourful highlights and shadows around the eye area, they not only draw out their impishness, but also make their peepers look bigger so as to crank up their cute factor. After all, they are the most adorable characters in the musical.

If you’re curious how a man turns into an ‘imp’ in under 45 minutes, look no further.

The Emperor’s new skin

Did you know that the most tedious makeup is done for the one character we do not see in the flesh? Yes, we’re talking about the ominous Emperor who only makes his grand appearance on the ‘big screen’.

Why do emperors usually end up grotesque monstrosities?
Why do emperors usually end up grotesque monstrosities?

“We needed him to look evil and forbidding but not gory. In the end, we narrowed down to the ‘drug addict look’. If you think about it, it makes sense. Instead of meth or cocaine, he was addicted to the Essence,” shared the team.

In order to create this druggy look, they resorted to prosthetic makeup. To be exact, foamed gelatin was used due to its resemblance to real skin. But just how tedious was this whole process? Here’s a brief rundown:

Step 1: Sculpt the mould — 3-4 hours
Step 2: Leave mould overnight — at least 10 hours
Step 3: Pour gelatin into mould and leave to set — 3 hours
Step 3: Painting of foamed gelatin to create desired look and effect – 3 hours

Voila! After 20 hours:

Emperor: Do you want a piece of me?
Emperor: Do you want a piece of me?

But that’s not the end of it. Five pieces of foamed gelatin are needed to cover the Emperor’s head and it takes two makeup artists two full hours to get the job done.

 

The difference is in the curls

A curl is a curl is a curl? Apparently this is far from true when it comes to Nova’s seemingly run-of-the-mill curled hair, or rather wig. As it turns out, hers was the most time-consuming of all characters. To begin with, Sarah Brown (who plays Nova) is very petite. So the size of her curls needs to be proportionate to her frame, as well as complement the character she plays. Too tight and she may end up looking like Goldilocks. Too big and she may come across as a diva instead of an ethereal leader.

Even wigs get their day at the hairdresser
Even wigs get their day at the hairdresser

But the work doesn’t end there. Every day after the performance, the hair stylists will spend about an hour and a half to clean and sanitise the wig, apply rollers and store it inside a thermal wig box where the warmth will help to maintain the curls.

Transforming from Sarah to LightSeeker's Nova
Transforming from Sarah to LightSeeker’s Nova

Despite the lack of magic and fairytale, the hair and makeup team behind LightSeeker does share one similarity with the frog prince and that is true love. In this case, their love for their craft. And their dedication to their profession.

Makeup magic. June Goh (rightmost) and her team of artists.
Makeup magic. June Goh (rightmost) and her team of artists.
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