On Seeing, A Journal #142
A great actor prepares to go on stage.
What follows is an example of how, for the questing eye, one thing can lead to another.
A few years ago, Geoffrey Rush came to our New York studio to take part in my monthly feature for Vanity Fair, IN CHARACTER.
The images and interview I did, were later included in my book, CAUGHT IN THE ACT (co-authored by Owen Edwards and Beverly Ornstein).
These were some of the “outtakes” that were published in the book.
When Rush and I completed the interview and photography, I asked him if we could make a portrait, something that was real and unacted, that had veracity. “If we can make something strong and wonderful,” I said, “I’ll make a fine print and give you one.”
He said, “Let’s go!” And we did.
A few months later, he was starring on Broadway, in Eugene Ionesco’s play, “Exit the King.“ Beverly and I went to see it and then visited him backstage, bringing the finished signed print of the portrait. He was delighted.
I then asked if I could come back to the theater on another day, to his dressing room, to photograph him while he did his make-up and dressed in his costume for the play. I thought the metamorphosis would be fascinating to observe and photograph. He liked the idea and we set a date.
As I had anticipated, the wig, make-up and costumes that transformed Rush into Ionesco’s King were elaborate, complicated, and remarkable.
Geoffrey Rush’s dressing room and make-up table in the theater.
He (and I) arrived at the theater two hours before curtain time. The first thing he did was look for texts from his wife and children in Australia.
The transformation began.
The theater’s hairdresser helped prepare him for the placement of a wig.
Then microphones were placed near his temples and taped in place.
The microphone wires and transmitter were taped in back.
He spent an hour carefully applying his own make-up.
Throughout the two hours he was relaxed and joked with fellow actors (here he is with the actress Andrea Martin) who came into his dressing room to say “hello.”
Another wig was placed for a certain sequence in the play. In the early phase of the play, the king has red hair; as he ages and loses his kingdom the red wig comes off and his hair becomes white.
The final, crowning moment for “The King.“
Rush checked out the final result of his “royal” evolution.
And, in the last moments before going onstage he reviews some of the notes from the director and goes over his lines.
Glitterati Incoprorated, the publisher of the Retrospective, Schatz Images: 25 Years is now offering the two- book boxed set at a discount from the original price. The set comes with an 11″x14” print of the buyer’s choice.
Click here for information about the Retrospective:
To view more of my work, visit my website.