PAE’s Antony and Cleopatra benefits from makeup designs by Rebekah Chatham

Happy Monday, Shakespeare lovers!  We enjoyed a wonderful opening night last Saturday, but if you missed it, you can find the schedule for Antony and Cleopatra at the bottom of this post–it’s running through July 26th, so many more chances to catch this colorful and dramatic production.

I’m so glad to be back today with more interviews from the cast and crew of  PAE’s Antony and Cleopatra, as part of our Cleo Chat series of posts.  I recently had the good fortune to catch up with PAE Makeup Designer, Rebekah Chatham, and we discussed her inspiration and ideas for the splendid makeup design that she created for our colorful 2014 Twilight Tragedie production.

(Athena McElrath--AM)  The makeup is fabulous for PAE’s Antony and Cleopatra. What was your inspiration for your makeup designs for female and male characters in this production?


(Rebekah Chatham–RC)  The inspiration for the Egyptian’s [makeup] was based mostly in colorful tribal design and ancient markings. Elizabeth really wanted a contrast between them and the Romans, who are very militant and minimalistic.

(AM)   Since the actors in Portland Actor Ensemble productions are performing outdoors in a variety of moisture and temperature conditions, what did you do to ensure that the makeup would stay in place for an entire performance?


(RC)  As far as keeping the makeup in place in the heat of summer during an outdoor performance, it’s going to come down to using a fair amount of setting powder. And if possible, waterproof or long- wearing base makeup.



(AM)   Did you use makeup that could be found at a drugstore or department store, or did you use special theatrical makeup for these characters?


(RC)  The makeup is primarily coming from the drug store, though I have played with using some higher- end brands while practicing the looks.



(AM)  Which character has the most complex makeup application, and how long does it take to put it all on?
(RC)  Well, most of the Egyptians have very elaborate and complicated looks; obviously, Cleopatra is the star and her makeup shows it. It’s taken a while to put the looks together and work out the kinks, but I think that the final looks will apply quite smoothly.



(AM)  What was your greatest challenge in makeup design for this PAE production, and how did you overcome it?


(RC)  The greatest challenge has been interpreting different elements of tribal and stage makeup into a look that fits Elizabeth’s vision. My background is in runway makeup, so it has been fascinating working on such a colorful production, completely different from anything I’ve done before.



Thanks so much, Rebekah!


More PAE Antony and Cleopatra Cleo Chat interviews coming up soon!


You can find our show schedule for Portland Actors Ensemble’s Antony and Cleopatra here–please join us and see this free production that runs June 19th through July 26th.


Have any questions about Antony and Cleopatra?  We’d love to hear about it down in the comments, so feel free to stop by and say hi!


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Till next time,

Take pains; be perfect; adieu!

DCFC0486.JPGAthena McElrath is an actor and singer who is also an Administrative Board member with Portland Actor’s Ensemble.  She helps PAE with social media and educational outreach.  She often works onstage with her husband, K.J. McElrath, in their cabaret act, called McElrath Cabaret, which features songs from classic Broadway, Hollywood and Tin Pan Alley.  For more: