In one scene of Les Mis, I play a beggar woman with a young baby. I put the usual "dirt" on my face before I go on stage--but one night, I decided I might as well black out a tooth while I was at it. It was fun to surprise a few people on stage. Marius barely kept it together when I smiled up at him during his first solo of that scene.
But my point is that I was perfectly primed for ugly face photo history. I mean....
I MEAN!!!!!!!!!! (When I texted this to my sister her reply was, "Never again.")
Once this beauty was forever memorialized, it got me a little excited about the potential for other ugly faces from these fierce actor friends of mine. I went around backstage snapping ugly face after ugly face. I got some real gems. I had no idea what I was going to do with them...but I was getting so many great laughs.
That's when Adam Millington walked up to me and said, "You know what you should do with those...you should replace everyone's existing headshots on the bulletin board with these ugly ones."
I came back the next day with my nicer Canon Rebel (as opposed to my phone) and got photos of everyone in both casts.
"Is this going on the internet?? What are these for? What are you doing? Are you putting these on Facebook?"
No, no, no. Calm the fweak down.
There is a giant bulletin board backstage just outside the dressing rooms. For every show that the Hale Centre Theatre does, they take all the headshots (for non-theatre people, a headshot is an 8 x 10 photo of yourself...looking your absolute best, that you use, along with your resume, when you audition for a show. It helps directors and producers remember who you are throughout the audition process) from everyone who was cast in the show and make a collage with all of them. And is it just me (ha..it's just NOT me) or are performers generally very good looking people? Yes. Yes, they are.
Or...they were. Until April 1st.
I really wish I would have taken a "before" photo of the board. (Also, it is RIGHT outside all the dressing rooms. The entire cast, including the tech crew--dressers, spotlight operators, sound guys, etc--walk past this multiple times a night.)
Our stage manager printed them out for me and Adam took time to cover each existing headshot with a "new and improved" version.
This chubby bunny is the tiniest little thing. But her fat kid impression is the bomb.
Thenardier at his finest. (I can't handle talking to him backstage when he is out of character because the makeup he wears on his teeth is too gross for me to look at...even though I love the man.)
So stinking funny.
I mean...look at these....(A few individual BEFORE and AFTER shots.)
Here is one of our lovely Eponines. Her voice is KILLER!!!!
So is her ugly face...
And then we have this handsome hunk...
This beauty, Mrs. Rachel Woodward Hansen (Cosette) was ALL OVER the ugly face business. When I asked her, she looked at me like, "Are you kidding?? It's only my favorite thing to do..."
This fine fellow rocks my world.
And last but not least...we have this gorgeous goddess of a woman, Mrs. Megan Lynn Heaps, our very own Fantine...Check out her mad skills...
Sure, she had just sold her hair before becoming a prostitute, then she died...(so the makeup and wig help) but still...
I had so much fun taking these and everyone (ahem...except for a few) was such a good sport about it. It felt like a breakthrough social experiment to approach these people and say, "Can you give me the ugliest face you can possibly make? I'm going to take a picture." Because some people were all over it, "Are you kidding? I have so many!" And others were a little hesitant/HAD NEVER MADE AN UGLY FACE BEFORE. Who are these people?? What do they do in front of the mirror everyday? Not have any fun, that's for sure.
I'm not sure what it says about people, but I'm trying to figure it out. I think it says something. I think it says they are confident enough with who they are to look foolish. They don't take themselves too seriously. It might also say they have a little too much time on their hands if they have an entire catalogue of faces. All I know is, the more willing to participate and the uglier the face, the more I fell in love with them.
But I must end on a redemptive note...if you don't mind.
I love these fools! I can't believe the show is ending in 2 weeks. I have made some new life-long friends (life beginning at 36 years old), and learned and grown so much. I will miss their faces to the max! All of their faces...the beautiful and the ugly.