GREENIFICATION! That’s what Midlothian actress Ashleigh Gray calls the transformation she will undergo nightly from Wednesday, when Wicked opens at the Playhouse for an eight-week season. It’s a process that takes 40 minutes,
allowing the 32-year-old, who stars in the musical sequel to The Wizard Of Oz, to settle into her role as the green witch.
“So much of Elphaba’s story is about her being green. It is the catalyst behind so many things that happen in her life. So to be made up this way is a huge help,” she says. “It leaves nothing to the imagination; as an actor, it’s great to look in the mirror and not just see myself – I see her.”
The process begins when Gray pulls her hair back to stop it getting in the way.
“We then apply a barrier gel and a foundation base to my face, neck and back to help the green go on smoothly and help protect the skin,” she explains. “Charlotte, my wonderful makeup artist, starts by painting the back of my neck green. Once my chest and neck are complete Charlotte moves onto my face.
“Charlotte never misses a spot. Using different sized and shaped brushes, she makes sure the green goes up to my hair line and even into my ears. My greenification is quite relaxing - I usually use this time to forget about any stresses and to prepare for the show.
“With the large venues we play, we then colour in my eyebrows to help add definition and contour my face. But it’s not all green. We use many different colours to create Elphaba’s look. That includes green/black lipstick and a special kind of purple blush which all bring the effect to life.
“Looking in the mirror and seeing yourself green really does help get into character. It’s great to have a visual transformation that really brings the character of Elphaba to life.”
Wicked, Playhouse, Greenside Place, Wednesday-10 January, £20-£72.50, 0844-871 7627