Here’s the deal: Tech week is intense.
For the month or so before, the actors rehearse in an empty room with folding chairs standing in for couches, tape on the floor standing in for walls and doors and Altoids cases standing in cell phones, revolvers and microphones (those cases are curiously strong stand-in props).
Then, tech week comes. And the actors are thrown into the fire. Costumes are yanked onto them, tugged and adjusted. They are pushed out under hot stage lights and forced to stand there silently while the technicians make subtle adjustments. They’re given a prop gun and asked to point it at a friend of theirs and pull the trigger.
And, if you’re Zach Stofer, you’re given a box full of makeup and told to make yourself look like you’ve been in a horrible accident where half of your face has been scraped off.
Like we said: Tech week is intense.
Thankfully, Zach Stofer – in addition to being an infuriatingly talented actor – knows his way around a makeup kit. And he was kind enough to have some photos taken of the several hour-long process he goes through each night to create his character of Sam in our Regional Premiere of “GRACE” by Craig Wright
Zach starts by putting on a little Barry Manilow (you know, the hits) and doing some deep breathing. Then, he makes himself a nice cup of English Breakfast, slips off his shoes and makes fists with his toes.
Okay, actually, the first step is applying a base layer of liquid latex. That stuff’s the shit.
Zach REALLY likes liquid latex.
Next, Zach works out some aggression on helpless cotton balls by ripping them into strips and shoving them onto his face while he screams “this is what you deserve!”
All of that is true except one part. Guess which.
Then, he puts some liquid latex on top of the cotton ball shreds. Not cause he has to, just cause he REALLY likes liquid latex.
Then, he pretends his hair dryer is a microphone and belts out “Mandy.” He also uses the hair dryer to dry the liquid latex and make a firm adhesion between the makeup and the cotton.
But mainly it’s about singing “Mandy.”
Then it’s time to do a little face painting. Zach uses a palette of various skin tones along with shades of red to accentuate the peaks and valleys of the scar tissue, popping out the highlights and deepening the shadows to make the texture deeper and more pronounced.
When he’s all done, he ends up with a finished product that looks a little something like this:
One final piece is added to this look, which we won’t spoil here. Let’s just say we owe a great deal to the fine folks at Hanger Clinic right here in Duluth, who helped us out in a huge way. So thank you, Hanger Clinic. You all rock.
And it’s only AFTER this final secret piece is added that Zach heads out on stage and spends 90 minutes systematically breaking your heart.
Honestly, guys: “GRACE” is one of those shows that we can point at and say, THIS is who we are and what we do. THIS is Renegade.
So, please. Come see this show.