Danae R. Jimenez, third-year graduate student at CCM, always dreamed of doing hair and make-up for theatre. When she was a little girl, she remembers telling her grandma, “I’m gonna do hair and make-up for the stars!”
Now, at least during CCM’s production of Her Naked Skin, Jimenez is turning her focus to suffragettes.
Jimenez is the Wig and Make-Up Designer for Her Naked Skin, a political drama about women who fought for the right to vote in London in 1913. Directed by CCM Acting Chair Richard E. Hess, the play runs Feb. 8 (preview) through Feb. 12 in Patricia Corbett Theater.
There are 24 wigs in the production and 5 different facial hair pieces, Jimenez says. It is a big production for CCM’s five-person Wig and Make-up Shop, but the students are no strangers to hard work.
CCM has one of the only graduate-level Wig and Make-Up programs in the country, which is why Jimenez choose to study at the college after she graduated with an undergraduate degree in theatre from Saint Mary’s College in Indiana.
“Im from Ohio and CCM has always been one of those places with prestige attached to it,” she says. “My professors at Saint Mary’s said this was the place I needed to be.”
Since she became at student at CCM, Jimenez has designed wigs and make-up for several shows, including Mainstage productions of A Chorus Line and Pentecost. She began designing for Her Naked Skin in the fall and the students started building the hair pieces when everyone returned from winter break.
“This show is very different for me design-wise because we had to do so much pre-planning,” she says. “I think one of the largest challenges was to not over design. We wanted to make sure that our choices were made smartly.”
She looked at historical photos to shape her designs around how people actually wore their hair in the early 1900s. She even found photos of the real suffragettes who were sent to Holloway Prison, a setting depicted in Her Naked Skin.
“Being able to look at real photos of women from that time in those situations was very cool,” says Jimenez, who minored in women’s studies when she was an undergraduate student. “Finding actual true historical research was probably the best and easiest part of the design process.”
The hard part was planning around the multiple wig and make-up changes that occur throughout the production. Most of the actors in Her Naked Skin play multiple roles, so the wig and make-up changes often signify character changes. Jimenez was challenged to create practical designs that can be quickly fixed and altered behind-the-scenes during the performance.
Some of the lead female characters have two wigs. The backup wigs are used during certain “action scenes” so the primary wigs can remain styled correctly. For example, Jimenez designed a second wig for a character who is forcibly hosed with water when she is jailed in Holloway prison.
She kept the make-up fairly simple to give the women a natural look because make-up was not widely used until the 1920s. However, the men wear more make-up and have more wigs and hair pieces to represent their character changes.
“Some of the men get fun character make-up because they are playing specific historical characters so we are adjusting that make-up to make them look more like the real people,” Jimenez says.
“My favorite one right now is Spencer Lackey, who is playing Keir Hardie [a former leader of the United Kingdom’s Labour Party]. We are doing a beard for him and we are going to do his make-up to make him look aged.”
The students also built a curly white “judge” wig from scratch for CCM actor Landon Hawkins, who plays the Speaker of the House in Her Naked Skin. Jimenez is working with Assistant Professor of Make-Up Kelly Yurko on the complicated wig. She has never built such a wig before but she previously created a fully hand-tied wig for class that took her between 50 and 60 hours to complete — from laying the wig’s lace foundation and sewing it together to tying all of the hair into place.
The wig and make-up crew did not build all of the wigs from scratch, most were built by previous students for past CCM productions. However, Jimenez styled all of the wigs. They also had to be altered to fit the actors; the students traced the actors heads to create new measurements for the wigs.
Many of the wigs needed to be “refronted,” which means the students replaced part of the wigs to blend with the actors’ natural hairlines. This process involves tying hair piece-by-piece into a lace foundation from the middle of the crown to the hairline. This can take about 10 to 12 hours.
“Everyone has been so helpful,” Jimenez says about the other students working with her. “For there only being five of us in the shop, everyone has been great.”
Audiences can see the products of their handy work when CCM presents Her Naked Skin from Feb. 8-12 in Patricia Corbett Theater. Tickets are available online through CCM’s Box Office.
After Her Naked Skin closes the shop will focus on CCM’s next Mainstage production, Jerry Herman’s powerful musical Mack and Mabel. Jimenez has been assisting Yurko in creating wig and make-up designs for the musical, which is set in the 1920s.
“I know it’s going to be a lot of wigs and a lot of changes, Jimenez says. “It’s going to be another big one.”
Her Naked Skin contains adult themes and situations, including brief nudity, and is intended for mature audiences.
- 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8 (preview)
- 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9
- 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10
- 2 & 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11
- 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12
Patricia Corbett Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati
Tickets to Her Naked Skin are $27-31 adults, $17-20 non-UC students and $15-18 UC students with a valid ID. Tickets to the Feb. 8 preview performance are just $15.
Student rush tickets will be sold one hour before each performance to non-UC students for $12-15, based on availability. UC students can receive one free student rush ticket with a valid ID, also based on availability.
Tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online at ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice/mainstage/her-naked-skin.
Parking and Directions
Parking is available in the CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus. Please visit uc.edu/parking for information on parking rates.
For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors. Additional parking is available off-campus at the U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots.
For directions to CCM Village, visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions.
Season Presenting Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation
Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s