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Makeup, Wigs, Props – Learn About Life Backstage At Dallas Theater Center

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Every day on Art&Seek, we’re talking to people who have tips for virtual art experiences. Share yours with us on Facebook, Instagram or @artandseek on Twitter. Click above to hear Micheal Waid of Dallas Theater Center share his tip with KERA’s Nilufer Arsala. 

Ever wonder what it’s like to go behind the scenes of a theater production? Well, the Dallas Theater Center is pulling back the curtain for you.

The theater company has launched a virtual production classroom series, where its audience can take a look into the world of drama. It will include instruction for costuming, makeup and hair and even past production videos all put into one platform.

The newest addition of free videos comes from costume director Micheal Waid, who takes viewers through a step-by-step guide of mask making. Since April, the costume department has donated about 2,100 masks to the Dallas-Fort Worth community.

“Not knowing how long the pandemic might last, we chose to create a how-to video to broaden the accessibility of knowledge we’ve gleaned during this process,” Waid said.

Here’s what’s available by the theater production pros:

Costumes

“Mask Making”

In the first video of a four-part series, Waid shows viewers everything needed to get started on mask making, including supplies, different styles of masks, prepping the fabric and caring for the mask. He suggests sharp scissors, a seam ripper, a pencil, a ruler, thread, 100% cotton fabric, hand sewing needles, 100% cotton elastic or twill/garment tape, or even a shoestring. Next, you’ll need something for the nose piece such as floral wire or a pipe cleaner. You can also use a sewing machine, but it’s also a project where you can hand sew the thread. Upcoming videos will show how to make a masks.

Schedule for the mask making series:

Make-Up And Wigs

“How to Make a Headwrap” 

In another video from January 2020, hair and make-up supervisor Nicole Alvarez takes viewers through the process of a headwrap. Alvarez explains a headwrap is a mold of the actor’s head, which is then used as a replica for the wigs that are made for productions. The process starts with a wig liner over the actor’s head, then putting a plastic bag over their head for measurements. Taking off the plastic bag might be hard, but making a mold of your head is surprisingly easy to do.

Props

“A Day in the Life of the Props Department”

Every day is a crazy day for John Slauson, head of props at DTC. Some viewers may be surprised at the many things Slauson has to do. His skills include furniture building, wood sculpture, printmaking, stain glass, flower arranging, basket weaving and more. In the Day in the Life video, Slauson talks about his collaborative effort to make the bone throne for The Wiz production and other props he’s built for some favorites musicals.

Audio And Video

“Sound Design in Theater”

“How do actors interact with sound design? How can the story further with sound design?” are just some of the questions Ben Zeman, the head of audio and video of DTC answers. He also takes us through the visitor’s experience with sound in the theater; it’s all connected to the human experience and subjective, he says.

The DCT said more virtual production videos will be uploaded throughout September and October.

Upcoming Events at Dallas Theater Center:

  • Join DCT for “Our Favorite DTC Show” on Aug. 27 at 5 p.m. Chat all things musicals at the free virtual happy hour with the organization.

Got a tip? Email Mia Estrada at mestrada@kera.org. You can follow her on Twitter @miaaestrada.

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