Contouring characters

Junior finds passion as makeup artist for school productions


Before the opening night of Urinetown, junior Hazel Harper was checking the makeup of the entire cast to make sure they were ready for the stage.

The cast of Urinetown traveled to Wichita in January for the state competition. Harper worked with theatre director Greg Shaw to design the stage makeup for the show. She styled about eight actors each night with distinct contour and highlight, rings around the eyes and fake dirt.

“I think she just has an interest in it and she’s been playing with different techniques,” Shaw said. “She is very organized and she plans ahead for everything, so it is just a real big asset to have someone who’s that interested in [makeup]. She’s done a really nice job.”

Harper started studying makeup artistry her freshman year when she began watching YouTube tutorials. She has now applied makeup for major school productions including “The Addams Family,” “Seussical” and “Urinetown.”

“It’s been about a year of on-and-off practice. I started with Addams Family my sophomore year and fell in love with it,” Harper said. “[My favorite part is] working with the actors. The show is great, but my favorite part is [spending] two hours face-to face and getting to know them well. The amount of friends I made during ëUrinetowní is astronomical.”

Kansas City hairstylist and makeup artist John Holland constructs design for school productions. He came to PHS to plan the makeup for the show with Harper.

“A lot of times, you don’t think about how much hair and makeup adds to the show until it’s gone,” Shaw said.

In addition to stage makeup, Harper also has cosmetic skills with special effects. During last year’s drunk driving crash simulation, she used makeup to make lifelike injuries.

“I try to do [makeup] in my free time, and I try to practice as much as I can,” Harper said.

Harper plans to continue doing stage makeup and hopes it will be her future career.

“[I enjoy] making a character. When you put makeup on somebody for a show or shoot, you’re making someone different,” Harper said. “It’s the turning point that creates a character.”