Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Artisans of SCR: Wig Master, Laura Caponera

Wig Master Laura Caponera and Graphic Designer Crystal Johnson.
Need a beehive hairdo? Accentuated makeup? How about a handmade wig? Or maybe a realistic-looking wound? South Coast Repertory is very fortunate to be able to turn to Wig Master Laura Caponera for any of those needs and others for any of SCR's productions.

As she begins her fourth season with SCR, Caponera has been the mastermind behind a plethora of gravity-defying wigs, prosthetics and special effects makeup.

Caponera's past work includes The Whipping Man (L) and The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales (R).
With One Man, Two Guvnors just around the corner, we asked Caponera to flex some of her hair and makeup muscle for a quick 1960s-inspired demonstration. SCR Graphic Designer Crystal Johnson happily volunteered to be the model for the makeover.

Follow the steps below, or check out the video, to recreate this swinging ‘60s hairdo for yourself. Get inspired by the tutorial, find a style that works for you, create it and share it with SCR posting it on social media and using #1man2Guvs.

Recreating a Period Look

The first task to tackle when recreating a hairstyle from a bygone era is to look at what you have to work with. Examine the state of your hair: its length, texture, thickness, thinness, curliness or waviness.

Keep all of that in mind as you search online for an inspiration image of a hairdo that you'd like to create. Find something you love because you'll be working from that found image and referencing it often.

For styling Johnson's hair, Caponera looked for a more youthful '60s image to match with Johnson's own age. Below is the inspiration image.

Caponera's source of inspiration for Johnson's hair.
Step 1
Found your inspiration style? Perfect! Now assemble all the tools you'll need. For the style Caponera selected, she chose the following tools: hairspray, hair clips, a fine tooth rat-tail comb, a brush and a curling iron.

Step 2
Begin the style by sectioning off your hair. Use hair clips to section out the back, sides and top. Create a horseshoe pattern in the hair, using the comb, to make carving out the section easier, then twist and clip.
Step 3
Set the curling iron at the right temperature for your hair type, then begin curling with the back section. Comb out a section from the back, place the curling iron around the middle of the strands to the root area. Note: starting curls at the ends of your hair can cause damage and doesn't distribute heat as well.
Step 4
Once the hair has been on the curling iron long enough, use the fine-toothed comb to hold the curl in place as you gently slide the curling iron out from the hair. Once the iron is out of the curl, use a hair clip to hold it in place. Repeat this process through the back section, then repeat for each side.
Caponera's Tip:
If your hair doesn't hold the curl easily, try a little hairspray! Spritz it before you place it on the curling iron.

Step 5
With the back and sides curled and in place, the next spot to tackle is the top section. To make it manageable, divide the top section into two: a front and back. Working from front to back on the top allows you easier access while curling. Starting from the back will create fewer obstacles as you try to curl the front. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for this final section.

Step 6
With everything clipped and curled, use hairspray generously to help it set into place. Let your hair cool and dry before moving on.

Step 7
Remove all hair clips from all sections except the top. Leave the top for last when you style it.

Step 8
Using a brush or comb, brush out all the curls. Extend the curl, then brush (or lightly tease) from the end of your hair to the roots. Doing this will help add fullness and volume to your hair.

Step 9
Once the hair is brushed out, the final steps will be up to you. Look at the inspiration mage to make it as close as possible. Be patient! It may take some time to get it just right.

Step 10
Accessorize with anything that may fit in that era. Caponera selected some fun colorful headbands that were reminiscent of the 1960s. Wig and Makeup Technician Gillian Woodson created the finishing touches so that Johnson's makeup to fit the era. This is where you can let your imagination run wild.

When you're done, make sure you take pictures as a keepsake and show off your work. If it's your first time creating a vintage look, don't be surprised if it takes longer than you expected. Keep trying and continue to learning as you work on it. Remember: the most important thing is to have fun.
Johnson's hair: before and after.

Learn more and buy tickets to One Man, Two Guvnors

Get to Know Laura Caponera

How did you end up creating makeup and wigs?
I studied costume design at San Francisco State University and, one day while working on Angels in America, I watched the wig person hand tying hair into a wig. Once I tried it for myself, everything changed for me. I completed an internship at American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco in hair and makeup and obtained my cosmetology license, which opened many doors for me. Since then, I have learned from many exceptional professionals in the industry, and have continued my education at institutions such as Banff Center for the Arts. I am privileged to be at SCR where I’m free to utilize my skills with shows that ask me to open my mind and attempt new things every season.

Can you give us a quick idea of what you do as the wig master?
As wig master I am responsible for the care and maintenance of the wig stock. Another important part of my job is to transform the costume designer’s renderings into period or contemporary hairstyles and makeup for each production. I also support the hair and makeup technician in the execution of their duties.

Matthew Arkin in SCR's 2014 production of The Whale by Samuel D. Hunter
What do you love best about your job?
I love the people that I get to work with—all the extremely talented artisans and performers! My favorite thing to see is the moment when a performer transforms into his or her characters once they are sporting their character hair and makeup.

What’s one show at SCR that you’re particularly proud of working on?
Coordinating the special effects of the prosthetic chin makeup for The Whale was especially challenging, but well worth the effort.

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