Issue 20, Volume 2
Volume 1, we looked at the various elements that make up Ghosts Alive;
things like the story, the setting, the actors and the audience, and we
spent the weekend of April 1st with The Sudden Impact! Entertainment
Company to see how these elements formed the cornerstones of Ghosts
cast of Warwick Ghosts Alive having completed Scare School
graduated from Scare School, the 31st of March is the first full day of
dress rehearsals with Ghosts Alive opening properly to the public on the
1st of April.
the day before, Lynton told the actors that there had been a change in
plan, and that the attraction was opening a day earlier. So, as far as
the actors knew, the 31st of March is the first day where paying members
of the public would be going through the show.
the 30th, a few select groups of schoolchildren went through, so it
wouldn’t be the first time actors would have the chance of scaring
people, but it would be the first real day of getting an idea of the
average working day for the cast, whether arriving, putting on makeup,
or dealing with the constant flow of people throughout the day.
day started off with the cast meeting outside the entrance of the castle
discussing how the day before went. Several jokingly said that they felt
guilty making 14-year-old girls jump, although this was very much
something that played on the conscience of many actors through the first
couple of days.
Dressing room in the Spy Tower
2: The Ghost Tower
Image: Warwick Castle
arrives, and the group make their way to the dressing rooms inside the
castle itself. Situated in the Spy Tower, a turret overlooking the
Watergate Tower in which Ghosts Alive is performed, the morning starts
in earnest with the cast scaling up the dozens of steps on a narrow
room is littered with the home comforts of any dressing room; makeup,
clothes, bottles of water and mirrors, while – in typical in Warwick
Castle – it is opulently furnished with wooden panelling, a chandelier
hanging from the ceiling, and leaded windows overlooking the centre lawn
and the iconic Guy’s Tower.
any form of prompt, the actors begin the now-daily ritual of donning
their gladrags, and makeup as they prepare for the first shows of 2006.
Today, half an hour has been allowed for prep time, although once the
attraction opens this time will drop as today Ghosts Alive has the full
cast of 14 in, which – in the Spy Tower – means intimate working
conditions at best.
put on their own makeup. Each actor has their own
costume. They clean the parts they can, while
Tussauds dry clean what they can't.
actors wear period-themed costumes custom-designed by Rozzy Alexander,
who – based in America – has done a lot of work for Lynton V Harris
and The Sudden Impact! Entertainment Company. Makeup, meanwhile, is
applied by the actors themselves, copied from guides drawn up by Siobhan
Harper Ryan, another long time Sudden Impact! collaborator who is also
known for her work on the UK comedy series, Bo Selecta.
makeup design is simple, but effective in the darkened confines of the
Ghost Tower. It comprises of darkened eyes, whitened faces, exaggerated
wrinkles as well as the occasional token splash of theatrical blood.
a single makeup artist is too time consuming for Warwick, and
unnecessary, although a group of four or five work on the monstrous
Philadelphia show which sees a cast of 80-100 people, some in makeup,
some in custom latex masks.
if the actors were in theatre, there are time checks to make sure
everything is running to schedule. With five minutes to go before the
cast are due downstairs, they’re running behind time, although this is
a good indication for what needs to be done on a normal day.
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to learn about becoming a ghost