Actors in the modernist era carried individual makeup kits, created their own makeups, and were adept at the application, although techniques evolved along with advances in lighting from kerosene to gas to electricity. Tubes of grease paint came in various tones that could be blended in the palm of the hand. The greasepaint base was supplemented by liners for highlight and shadow, crepe hair applied with spirit gum, bald caps and wigs—all used in the service of characterization. The time spent at the dressing table applying one's makeup was part of the process of transforming oneself into the role. Blackface makeup was widely used by white actors in the days before the integrated stage. That long-abandoned process of applying burnt cork is preserved for us in a sequence from the 1927 motion picture The Jazz Singer in which Al Jolson "blacks up." For removal of makeup, any cheap lard would do. It was a point of pride for an actor to remove all traces of makeup using no more than two pieces of toilet tissue.
   In Next Week-East Lynne!,* Gladys Hurlbut's memoir of stock company acting at the dawn of the 20th century, she recalled that "every drug store used to carry a complete line of stage make-up . . . The grease paint was laid out in rows, every color from clown white to Indian red. There were rabbits' feet to spread on your dry rouge and big cans of cold cream that looked like lard. There were little iron pans with holders in which to melt your wax over a candle so you could bead your eyelashes. Every lash carried a big load of wax on it then! The face powders had wonderful names for their different shades: 'Juvenile—flesh' and 'Character—old man.' Then there was crepe hair for moustaches and beards and bolemania, a dark powder for making you look dirty or very foreign and dark" (31).

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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