Our resident biscuit Pippa Evans has had the lurgy – and a show to do. Cue makeup o’clock.
Winter is my favourite 6 months of the year. Wrapping up warm; crisp, cold but sunny days; mulled wine disguised in takeaway coffee cups (yes we know that’s what you’re drinking – no one grins like that for coffee. Not even a gingerbread latte). The use of, “Not this close to Christmas” in business from mid-November and 1000 German Markets around the UK all selling exactly the same things (wooden tie, anyone?). It’s brilliant! Jubilation! And then… it strikes.
We all succumb, despite refusing to kiss the infected (what would Diana say?) and suddenly, death is written all over our faces. KEEP BACK. I AM DEATH our skin tells our fellow man. Glassy eyes aren’t particularly romantic and noses stream more violently than a teenager on Torrent.
One of the most fascinating things about the human body is its ability to let us know when something is wrong.
“Ouch – that hurts”
“Well don’t do it then.”
Our bodies signal to us when they need to rest, to recuperate, to regenerate.
But, since we know better about everything, we generally ignore what our body says and fill up on amazing drugs that make us feel… amazing. My favourite is DayQuil. An American over-the-counter drug which they don’t sell here because APPARENTLY it’s proven to rip holes in your stomach wall if you over do it, even by a tiny bit. Those UK Health and Safety freaks. What was a wall built for? Ask Jericho!
Yet even the mighty DayQuil couldn’t stop me collapsing this week and I was ILL. I mean proper moaning, groaning, “help me” ill. The teenager I once was returned, lay in bed and said choice phrases like “It’s not fair” and “can I have a cup of tea” but in a voice a toddler would be ashamed of. I was sweating and my face said DO NOT APPROACH THE ANIMAL.
As a Biscuit, I have become very aware of my face giving off signals to others. Having only been told once “you look tired” when I did look tired, I just thought, well, yes; I am tired. It was less of an insult, more a statement of fact. And I agreed. Which was nice, actually. This week my face said I was ill and when people asked, “Are you ill?” I said, “Yes, I am ill” and that was that.
But we can’t all be ill all the time. In fact, we had to do a Showstopper! show on the worst day of my feeling ill, but in a really swanky place. So I had to not only play “not ill”, but look “not ill”. There is, of course, only so much one can hide. Luckily, there are a multitude of tips for this situation!
“No one wants their main entertainer coming on looking like they’ve been dipped in goose fat.”
There is literally NO WAY I could have done this show without makeup in this scenario. Isn’t that amazing? It’s a show – so it comes under my remit that I can wear makeup for performing – but it is one I would be happy to do sans makeup in normal circumstances. But if the organisers had known just how unwell I was before we went on (I wasn’t eating at all. This is a sign of imminent death where I am concerned) they probably would have lost faith in the show. No one wants their main entertainer coming on looking like they’ve been dipped in goose fat. They want confidence. Bravado. And probably some glamour. That’s why they call me: Glamour is my middle name. My other middle name is Sensible. Sensible Glamour. It’s very popular in the UK.
We have a wonderful thing in performing land called Dr Theatre so I knew I would be fine on stage – so the makeup was really about giving the audience confidence that I was fine. My makeup served the purpose of lying to the group about my wellbeing, to enhance their enjoyment. Makeup, guys, saved the day! Makeup meant the show went ahead and no one knew that I wanted to throw myself under a bus (apart from the rest of the cast, who did their best not to kiss me – which is hard, as I am very attractive in makeup, like that Hairdresser said the other week).
Thank you, Makeup. I feel I have been very unkind to you these last 80 or so days. But you really came out tops. I love you, Makeup.
Biscuit I most resembled this week: What is paler than a Rich Tea? Those weird sponge fingers?
Time spent thinking about makeup: Only a few hours of celebration for saving the bloomin’ day.
Enquires into my health: LOTS of enquiries because I am actually sick. My face let them know the truth.
As part of her biscuit project, Pippa has been talking to people about their faces.
Yshani Perinpanayagam https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iO4NyhQbG5s
Matt Green https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkSMBg58oM4
Pippa Evans is a comedian, improviser and the co-founder of Sunday Assembly. She lives in London.