Huddled in the left corner, two girls worked furiously, painting and drawing on their model’s face. Specs of gold glitter fluttered in the air as the bright light coming from above bounced off the shiny dust. Drowning Pool’s “Bodies” played as 20 students shuffled, stumbled and limped around in a circle in the center of the Jane Dibbell Cabaret Theater.
This was the scene of Monster Bootcamp, the first event of its kind on campus Tuesday.
Theater major Michaela Bulkley put together the series as part of her senior project.
“It’s all about having a community of artists and giving them an environment to feel empowered,” Bulkley said. “This time we did something different. We’re taking an artistic risk with Monster Bootcamp, so we’ll see how it goes.”
Once the crowd filed in and took their seats, they were informed that Monster Bootcamp would be an audience interactive event.
The group began stretching, trying to identify a part of their body with a lot of tension. Everyone then participated in an activity to help them understand their bodies and how to translate a character into movement.
Alumni Sierra Taylor, a professional burlesque dancer, and Alvaro Renteria, an actor who recently worked props on “Carrie: The Musical” in Los Angeles, led the exercise.
After everyone finished stretching, Taylor told them to think of a character, keeping in mind the tensest part of their bodies when they stretched. Next, they were to demonstrate how their characters would move depending on the emotions she gave them.
The activity was inspired by Taylor’s experience performing in the music video for “Doctor or Monster” by Audfaced.
“For this music video, I had to play a demented bride and I thought, ‘How do I translate that?’” Taylor said. “I thought about how a bride wants to be perfect, so I did a lot of twitching and sharp movements.”
The crowd looked like a herd of stiff zombies walking about in a circle. Some people waddled like penguins or hunched over like apes. Others stretched out their arms and fluttered like birds or butterflies.
Taylor split everyone into groups of four. Groups performed their movement one at a time as the audience identified what part of their bodies were accentuated and what character they could possibly be.
Junior kinesiology major Thomas Huynh’s character demonstrated a stiff neck and locked knees accompanied by a stabbing motion.
“I was inspired by the death scene of Olly from ‘Game of Thrones,’” Huynh said.
Other characters demonstrated were a bald eagle, a self-conscious bird, an emperor penguin, a disfigured Vietnam War veteran, an intoxicated octopus and a love-sick zombie.
While the audience participated in the character exercise, freshman theater major Jordan Nelson and sophomore theater major Ashley Weaver created an elaborate stage makeup inspired by a skull.
Their model, freshman theater major Mallorie Johnson, was presented to the crowd after the character exercise.
Johnson’s face was painted a base of white cream with gold glitter packed on to her eyelids and lips.
Nelson and Weaver applied a dark black to Johnson’s lower cheek and jawline to emulate a hollowed out section of the skull.
“We used water based face paint, some cream paint, glitter and eyeliner,” Nelson said.
Nelson has been experimenting with special effects makeup for two years. Although it is currently a hobby, she said she is still considering it as a career.
“I hope that my makeup skills become an asset to the theater department,” Nelson said.
As part of the Cabaret Series, the entire theater will be turned in to a Haunted Circus at 10 p.m. Tuesday. The event is free.
Bulkley hopes the circus will be the first of an annual haunted house put on by the theater department.
Natasha Brennan can be reached at email@example.com.