Kabuki Makeup


Students will understand the importance and meaning behind kabuki makeup by applying makeup to themselves and designing a makeup design sheet for their monologue character.



Materials Needed:

– Enough large mirrors for the class to see themselves.
– Kabuki makeup (made from finger paint and Crisco)
– 1 paintbrush per student
– popsicle sticks to dish out makeup
– face cleaning wipes



Hook: (5 minutes)

Mie: Mie’s are historically performed at the most climatic moment of a scene and/or play.
Review the different things that need to be included that we have discussed so far for the final monologue.



Instruction: (20 minutes)

Tell students we will be spending the majority of class today working on creating a Kabuki makeup design for their characters. Review the basic ideas of kabuki makeup—accentuated eyes, nose, and mouth.

Show pictures of kabuki makeup. When students are creating their own makeup designs, they should not focus on making pictures on their faces that match their character, but think of ways they can use lines, just like in traditional kabuki makeup to express their character.

Makeup Application: For many actors in Western theatre, they take time to prepare themselves to enter the role—kabuki actors do the same thing, but it is ritualized—when kabuki actors put on their makeup, it is a private and personalized experiences. Normally, kabuki actors do not let other people watch as they put on their makeup before a performance.



Practice: (50 minutes)

We’re going to put on makeup today! The purpose behind putting on the makeup is so that you can see what certain lines do to accentuate your face. Drawing it on a picture won’t help if you don’t know the canvas you’re actually working on.

Each student will be given cups to put their makeup in and one paintbrush. They can experiment for the remainder of class, but two things need to happen—don’t get any paint on anyone else. Keep your hands and paintbrushes to yourselves. Two, by the end of class, students need to have a sketched out makeup design for their monologue character. They can color it at home.



Questions you should ask yourselves while you’re experimenting with the makeup:

– Is my character good or bad?
– What personality traits would I associate with my character?
– How does my character use his/her eyes to express themselves?
– How will the makeup around my mouth change as I talk?




15 minutes before class ends, have students start cleaning up. All trash should be thrown away, and then they need to come sit in a chair or on the floor. In the last 5 minutes of class, students need to start writing a paragraph explaining how and why the makeup they chose fits their character. This paragraph and the makeup design sheet will be turned in the final day when the students perform their monologues.



Final Note: Added to your final performance from today:


– Handed In: A final draft of the makeup design sheet, fully colored and neat looking.
– Written: A one paragraph description of why you chose the colors and shapes present in your makeup design.