Working on the third floor of the Presser Performing Arts Center is completely different than working on the second floor of Hart Career Center. For students from the Cosmetology program at HCC, helping with the hair and makeup for "The Sound of Music" has exposed them to styles they seldom see during the regular class day.
There are eight students, accompanied by instructor Jackie Crow, who are assisting backstage for the musical which opened last night at PPAC. The students committed to three nights of dress rehearsal, the four evening shows and Sunday matinee. The makeup and hair preparation takes about three hours prior to each show.
"This is the sixth or seventh year my students have volunteered to assist Mark DeJaynes with hair, and also help with makeup," Crow said. "I think the experience is good for the students because theatrical makeup and hairstyles for the stage are different from what we generally deal with."
Crow thinks the volunteering her students do is a good community service, but also considers it a valid learning experience. "The time frame we have to get everyone ready to go on stage is an important way to teach time management," she said. "Also, it's good for the girls to create the hairdos, and then go to the audience to see how the characters look on stage."
One of the students, Paige Early, senior at Mexico High School, enjoys her volunteer experience."I've always been interested in these fields," she said. "I think working on a play is good way for me to express myself artistically, and I appreciate the experience this opportunity is giving me. I like being able to say I was part of the background of "The Sound of Music."
DeJaynes, who is in his 14th year as hair supervisor for PPAC productions, appreciates the assistance of the students.
"I think this experience is good for the girls, and gives them a good chance to work with people they might not generally encounter, and with hairstyles they won't be called upon to do."
DeJaynes said he researched the hairstyles from the late 1930s/early 1940s so that the characters will be historically accurate with clean, elegant looks.
"I design a look for each character, then take a backseat, supervisory role and let the students do much of the actual work," he said. "Doing the same hairstyles for seven days reinforces the experience for the students, and gives them a chance to perfect the look." He continues to do the hairstyles for many of the principal characters.
"We encourage the students to make a full seven-day commitment to the play," Crow said. "That way, they are responsible for the same character for each performance."
One of the problems the students encounter is that of turning 2012 hairstyles into the styles of the earlier era.
Page 2 of 2 - "One of the challenges is that modern haircuts are not a good base for the pre-WWII era hair," DeJaynes said. "This forces the girls to think outside the box and makes them be creative to make the styles work."
He also is impressed with the commitment of the Cosmetology students.
"They have agreed to give up a lot of their time," he said. "They are a great group of students who are really excited and willing to try this new experience."
Connie Smith is head of the makeup crew, and both she and DeJaynes are assisted by other crew members. The other student volunteers are Kailyn Garnett, Jenny Gilbertson, Mikaela Gilman, Nicole Oliver, Sam Peacock, Ceirra Schmidt and Sandie Williams.
Tickets are available for Friday and Saturday evening performances, and for the Sunday matinee of "The Sound of Music" at www.presserpac.com.