Mariko Kanto, doesn’t need make-up for her part in the American Repertory Theater’s production of “Wild Swans”. Actually in this case less is definitely more. She tells me, “I need to look famished for a famine scene. So, looking tired and plain works better.” During rehearsals, she sported no make-up and was tired and therefore had the ideal look. Mariko confides, “Some of us were told we had too much makeup on and had to lighten it.”
When applying her street make-up, she employs a light hand . A stick foundation is applied with a brush. No powder is used as it is her belief that doing so works better for older skin. A little bit of color on the cheek and lips, minimal use of eyeliner and shadow, and clear mascara to complete her look.
We are having dinner prior to the “Wild Swans” opening night at Dado Café. The show runs from February 11, 2012 - March 11, 2012. Being a total make-up junkie, I am a tad surprised. I thought that regardless of role, theatre would require at minimum some concealer, foundation, mascara. Probably some natural eye shadow. But my mind had not considered if one is say in a play about Communist China going through the cultural and political changes that occurred in the early 20th century.
Upon reflection, this no make-up look makes sense. Rouge and lipstick were viewed negatively-as a decadent practice by the Communist leaders. Most peasants toiling away in the fields wouldn’t have the means to really get the latest red shade from Paris. At times they barely had enough food to eat.
Throughout the acts, the pale faces and pulled back hair of the principal actors works in this play. I realize that a ban on blush is necessary in order to stay authentic to the story and in character. Afterwards, at the reception for “Wild Swans”, it seems to be a 30-70 mix of those who were in the play and the attendees like myself. Note that I try not to eat too many yummy brownie bites and restrict myself to only one glass of white wine. All the talk about sugar breaking down the elasticity of the skin has affected me.
A lot of the actors have this pleased, flushed look to their faces. Or that could have been the lighting too. Mariko has an upbeat vibe when she finds me after the show. “You did great!” I tell her. Because we were on the topic of make-up earlier, she told me that a fellow actor suggested she should take off her light makeup. As a result, she dutifully complied in removing her eye shadow and cheek blush. Thus, her time on stage was sans make-up. When those bare face moments are upon you, own it girl!