The “Beast Mask Dilemma”
We just got our “Beauty & the Beast” costumes back from a rental, so I hope to get some good pictures taken as I put them away! The series of upcoming posts featuring costumes from “Beauty & the Beast” will not be so much of a tutorial, as showing what we did.
If you are reading this because you are trying to costume this show, you KNOW what a challenge it can be! Every Enchanted costume is unique, with odd features, and lots of potential details! To top that off . .not only are the Enchanted costumes supposed to morph and become MORE enchanted during the show . . . that darn last scene at the end where EVERYONE needs a second coordinating outfit for a whole 5″ on-stage. That’s enough to drive you crazy!
The Beast costume is particularly challenging. It can be made somewhat easier IF you use a double for the Prologue and the final scene . . .we did not. So . . that eliminates using glued on prosthesis or elaborate make-up for the Beast.
I spend HOURS and HOURS online scouring costume sites and ANY resource I could find looking for a mask/headpiece. We had criteria–it couldn’t be too scary, it could not look demonic, AND the character has to be able to SING–so nothing that covers the mouth. Oh! And it can’t cost too much.
We finally decided to try to use the lion wig that is recommended for the Cowardly Lion. I think there are a couple of version of this wig out there . . . it certainly varies in price. We weren’t wild about the curls, but, were hoping to use it as a base.
I contacted a local fiber artist and got her on-board with the project, and ordered the wig. Right. Make that . . I TRIED to order the wig. All those websites that showed it “in stock”, and “ready to ship” . . .nope. Of course it takes time before they will TELL you they don’t actually have it. I even started CALLING the companies, asking if they had it IN THEIR HANDS, and a couple of time they told me “yes” . . only to tell me a couple of days later that it must have been sold while we were on the phone. Uh huh.
Long story short, eventually, we ended up with a Rocker (Heavy Metal?) wig that a “store” owner finally recommended to me (google it . . I’m not going to link one, because I don’t know exactly which one we purchased or where it was ordered from). In desperation, I agreed (time was getting short to opening night!). Basically it is a long, kind of frizzed wig, with shorter hair on top, longer hair on the bottom. Initially our artist kind of flipped as it was SO different that what we were expecting . .but . .in the end, I think it turned out really better than if we’d ended up with the original wig we’d decided on.
This is how our headpiece ended up looking on stage:
Here is how our artist did it:
The horns were carved out of a foam by a friend of hers. They were painted black.
There is a wire that extend through them for some support. The wire is fairly heavy gauge. It comes through the top of the wig and was shaped into a flat circle. That didn’t really give enough support to hold them up, so I covered that wire with a circular piece of plastic canvas mesh, and then covered that with some felt for comfort. The plastic mesh and felt were hot glued to the wig. This provided a stiff enough base so that the horns stood up, as you see in the pictures.
The ears are made of felt, and were sewn to the wig (you can see the small end coming through the wig, under the horn support that says “KHS”.
The front of the mask is a 3 dimensional double-sided felt “sculpture” that she sewed to the front of the wig. The nose pieces extends down, and can be stuck to the nose with double-sided face tape.
The wig is easy to put on and off so works great for costume changes. It also allows the cast member to sing and speak without impediment.
He complimented the look by growing a small goatee… lacking that, you might want to glue some facial hair on the chin.
So . . .you probably noticed the broken horn. The horns were perfect for the show . . .however . . .go figure . . if you toss the headpiece at the BOTTOM of a pile of costumes, they can break. I had fixed one initial break with some glue and electrical tape, but, now both horns were broken, so I needed to do something else.
I had seen some cool looking repair stuff at the local Farm & Home store:
This stuff worked AWESOME for the repair. The strips are 1″ x 40″, so I needed to use two for one horn repair. It is lightweight, and black, so perfect for my repair. It went on really easy, and has dried REALLY HARD. So excited. I need to get a second box as I didn’t have enough, but, these horns are going to be TOUGH now and impervious to teenage carelessness 🙂
So . . .this was our solution to the Beast Mask Dilemma.
Hopefully this post will give you some ideas of ways to create your own Beast headpiece.
Because you may be wondering: During the Transformation at the end, our Director did ours as a fairly straight-forward ” Beast- take-off-the-costume-and-Belle-act-surprised” fantasy deal. We had the Enchantress come back out and twirl around as the spell was broken.
No fancy special effects there. No one cared. The audience loved it.