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Saint Mary’s alum teaches class on zombie makeup

| Friday, October 13, 2023

On Wednesday evening, Kathryn Hein (SMC ’13) visited Moreau to teach a masterclass in zombie makeup, just in time for the Halloween season. 

Having graduated with a major in English literature and triple minors in secondary education, film studies and theater performance, Hein has been able to use many techniques from the theater world in her everyday life. 

Her introduction to the world of stage makeup was a class called “Mask Making and Makeup,” taught by Melissa Bialko in the theater department at Saint Mary’s.

Chloé Troxel | The Observer
Kathryn Hein poses with designer and technical director Michaela Duffy in zombie makeup.

Hein has performed, directed, written, designed and collaborated with many people during her theater career. She said theater often encourages going out of one’s comfort zone. Hein explained that if one tries something and it doesn’t produce the desired result, it can help to keep in mind that the possibilities in theater are limitless. 

Theater not only encourages choices that seem outlandish, but applauds them, Hein said. She explained how creatures such as zombies are brought to life.

“So I get to do my own makeup, but then you get to move like a zombie and you get to breathe like a zombie and make sounds like a zombie,” she said.

If a medical emergency is written into a performance, Hein said that her job is to research the most realistic reactions on the body given the accident at hand. Medical makeup is called “triage,” she said.

The process of experimentation also allows performers to discover aspects of a character that they may want to embody, but aren’t sure how to go about it, Hein added.

“One of the great things about theater is that it’s a safe space to try things that you might apply in real life,” Hein said.

Chloé Troxel | The Observer
A human arm is decked out in makeup, mimicking a zombie bite.

From an artist or performer perspective, it can be easy to fall into the trap of comparing oneself to others or doubting oneself.

“For me makeup is a trust the process kind of thing,” Hein said.

The fun part about the arts is that there are no definitive rules as to how something should look, Hein explained. 

“I think when I first started I really wanted to do things right,” she said. 

Hein suggested that if someone is looking to get into stage makeup, they should simply just start and document their work, so they can later admire the progress they have made.

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