The Gainesville Theatre Alliance’s production of Sleeping Beauty* was lovely; it had dazzling scene design, rich costuming, and committed actors. However, the makeup was somewhat lacking. Some characters seemed to have no makeup on altogether, while others were so heavily stylized, when in combination with their multi-patterned costumes, their features were rendered nearly indistinguishable.
Characters such as Sleeping Beauty and The Prince had virtually no makeup on and, while this could have been a deliberate choice to contrast from their elders, it did not help with the expression of their characters. Then again, the Empress did not seem to have very much makeup on either, though I will say that the Emperor was very well done, but his face was dominated mostly by his wig and mustache. Though in relation to characters such as the three fairies and Nightshade, it was almost a relief. These characters were heavily stylized and the design was so complex and compact on the limited space available, it became muddled at a distance. Nightshade’s bold eye makeup seemed to cover the whole top half of her face and forehead even from the relatively close range of the fifth row. In my opinion, it would have been more visible if one distinct aspect of each character had been accentuated, rather than multiple; it would have translated better at a distance.
I will stress that the makeup design did not detract from the show as a whole and these are merely minute suggestions. Overall, the show was beautiful.
*Written by Gay Hammond, performed 2014