Follies had its first tech rehearsal today. It was quite a marathon; the 3 of us who showed up for the make-up tech were there a good 5 hours, and the cast and other crew had another 2-3 hours to go. This production has a cast of about 45, most of whom have to wear at least one wig; one poor woman has four different wigs depending on the scene! They opened with designers' notes and announcements; the lighting designer announced that he had about 200 cues to set and apologized in advance for the necessarily painfully tedious process of inching thru the show to set those cues.
You'd think, as I did, that make-up wouldn't be too difficult; set it and forget it, right? Wrong! A scant handful of the cast have the same make-up throughout. Most change theirs from Act I to Act II, and some change it yet again during Act II. In addition to the make-up changes, there's a lot of "specialty" make-up, involving unusual effects (e.g., covering natural eyebrows and "drawing" higher ones) or special techniques. For starters, several people need to be aged, so the make-up designer has been instructing us in those techniques. The showgirls all get "ghost" make-up, and many in one of the big Act II numbers are to be made up to resemble Dresden dolls. This is going to be challenging, especially as there isn't nearly as much space as we could wish for the logistics of all these changes; little wonder they're telling cast members to get to the theater as early as possible.