One Person – Many Faces

By Alexander Kratochwill

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Sandra Holmbom / rodeo.net

Whether it’s theatre, LARPing, cosplaying or something entirely different, sometimes we need to become someone else. And that means effort. However, while the idea can be rather intimidating, I will try and give you a couple of tips on how to achieve that transformation. Of course I’ll stick to vampires (the evil I know), but then, that’s really just an example, people.

Make-up

The first and probably most obvious choice is to try and alter make-up, if used at all. Make-up can, of course, mean eyeliner, eyeshadow and the like. However, it can also translate to applying artificial scars, tattoos, painted wounds and what have you. Try to think of something unique! Maybe you had a bad run-in with a werewolf at some point and have the claw marks to show it; or you had a bad burn that somehow refuses to heal; perhaps a poison arrow left its mark – there really are so many options to choose from. It’s a great way of being creative about your new character and might give you the right incentive to add a little something to that background story you’ve been brooding over for the past weeks.

Hair and Contact Lenses

You might want to try contact lenses. However, never treat them like a toy. If you’re unsure at all or have difficulties with your eyes as it is, consult your local optician before trying them. They really do come in all shapes and colours, so again it’s a good way to express yourself, if your eyes can handle it. Same really goes for the hair. People change so much just by doing their hair differently, using a wig or trying a new hair colour. Not everything you do has to be real dye. You might just go for some hair tint instead. For example grease paint can turn your hair from blond to brown for a night and washes out easily. Just please take a shower before you go to bed, otherwise you will regret it in the morning (and have to do laundry right away).

Clothing and Accessories

We’ve covered your physical appearance as far as your own body is concerned. Of course you mustn’t forget about the costume itself. Every person dresses differently, whether that is for taste or because they’re being anachronistic doesn’t really matter. Try to express the personality of your character through the clothes they wear. Think of the items they might be carrying around. Maybe a crucifix? Or perhaps a brooch, a gift from a former lover. Perhaps their wedding ring…

Voice and Language

There’s also a lot you can achieve by changing your tone of voice or the level of language you use with one character. This can be the difference between a low and a high-pitched voice. It can also mean whether someone has an accent or not and just how strong said accent is. And then there’s register. Was your character raised by someone with a good pedigree? Or did he or she grow up on the street, every day being a fight for survival? Each and everything your character went through in their previous life is something that influences just how they speak.

Behaviour and Posture

Vastly under-appreciated. Just as in real life, the way a person presents himself to another is crucial. Your character might be someone who constantly leans forward slightly. Maybe an old wound. Maybe his way of ducking away from everything, including conversation. Or he might be very confident, standing up straight, always a sure smile on their lips. Some people have these odd little habits – like constantly blinking with one eye. Very irritating! Or wringing their hands nervously, over and over. Those things might seem small at first, but they do add up!

Now, using just one thing out of everything I talked about before won’t make all that much of a difference. But with a few selected picks you’ll be surprised what you can come up with and what you can do, much to the surprise of your fellow LARPers. They’ll get to know a very new you every time you put your hands on a new character.