Phoebe Bock, a senior theatre arts major at Southern Utah University, didn’t initially intend to make the theatre her home. Originally, she planned to be an English teacher, taking a few theatre classes here and there as a hobby. Her academic advisor noticed her class load and suggested she follow her passion.
“My advisor, Aaron Wallace, asked why I was taking so many theatre classes, and I said I wanted to be a prosthetics makeup artist as a hobby and have teaching as my real job. After that, he basically said I should just make theatre my degree and career.”
Now, four years later, Bock is set to graduate spring of 2018 with a degree in theatre studies with an emphasis in hair and makeup, as well as a minor in film studies.
Recently, Bock has been putting her skills as a makeup artist to use as the lead hair and makeup designer for SUU’s production of Eurydice. Based on a Greek myth, the play is incredibly abstract in its language and themes, a quality that was carried over into the design work.
“This show was really fun to work on because the whole concept focuses on the play’s Underworld,” said Bock. “It’s a small cast of only seven people, but some of the characters were more complex than others.” The most complex character designs were for the Stones, a trio of oddball, non-human entities that reside in the Underworld.
According to Bock, the set design helps influence the character’s costume and makeup design. There are strings that hang down off the set that represent the memories of the souls who have died. The Stones roll around these memory strings of the Underworld and then turn into a memory of what humans were and looked like.
“The Stones are really interesting to look at,” said Bock. “They are just these masses of color and fringe and it looks awesome.”
As a lead designer for Eurydice, Bock’s work began well before the show opened.
“There were countless hours put into the build and design of the project.” said Bock. “ It was really hard, but so rewarding. Thankfully I had help from my assistant designer, Karly Kerins. She is always my saving grace and amazing to work with. I also have an awesome crew who helps get everyone ready every night.”
The crew arrives two hours early to prepare the actors. They apply all the makeup and wigs, and even paint the actor’s hands and feet until the show starts at 7:30 p.m.
Bock is grateful to her mentors, Shelby Luke, costume shop manager and Wendy Sanders, associate professor of theatre arts, who have supported her throughout this project.
“Shelby was the costume designer for this show, so I was able to work very closely with her,” said Bock. “I learned a lot from Shelby and was able to see the world come together through clothing. Wendy was awesome because she is the makeup advisor so I was able to go to her with all my questions about different styles and techniques to use.”
With graduation on the horizon, Bock says she’s grateful to SUU and the department that helped her realize her dreams.
“I wouldn't have ever considered theatre or hair and makeup a legitimate career path until the academic advisor told me to consider it. I am very happy with my choices. It's been a great experience overall.”