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How can a stage actor keep from perspiring?

An actor is performing in a stage play in Southern California in early September when the temperature regularly breaks 100 degrees; his role requires him to wear a wool suit and the theatre A/C is modest at best. How can he keep from obviously perspiring? His costume is soaked through after the first 10 minutes and his face drips like he just climbed out of a pool. We've even tried using anti-perspirant under his makeup but all to no effect. Any ideas out there?

Update:

The actor is on stage for 97 straight minutes - beginning of show to end, so their is no opportunity for him to cool down during a break.

And of course, I know sweating is natural, and no, I don't want him to pass out; those should be givens.

14 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    There are some great ideas up there - a couple more concepts you could integrate might be:

    Supplement the theatre aircon with a couple of fans off-stage. Obviously you'd want to choose ones with low-noise motors - but a faint burr in the background might be less distracting than having an actor constantly leaking from every pore, or fainting on stage...

    Replace the suit altogether. Make it out of a texture-printed material that simulates the grain of wool, and starch it heavily to try to get the heavy 'drape' of wool. Even if you had to hand-sponge or stamp your own texture on the fabric, it might be worth it. You could lay an old window screen (or purchase mosquito netting) over your flat dark fabric and then spray-paint a darker colour in the same hue - you'd have a stiff, grained effect that could be very convincing if done over a faint pinstripe.

    Chemical ice packs (drugstores, Canadian Tire, hardware stores, camping places) are tidier than real ice. Pack a few throughout the costume; sew a 'pocket' on the inside of the collar back so one rests on his neck. Put one or two in suit pockets where they won't ruin the hang of the outfit, and the actor can press the inside of his wrist to them from time to time (making it look like a natural hands-in-pockets gesture, or using 'static time' when the audience's attention is on another character). There's a lot of blood flow through the wrists and it's quite cooling.

    Just break the little ampule inside just before he steps under the lights - or allow the actor to do it himself on stage when it begins getting too unbearable! The cold begins almost instantly. You might have to experiment, and the packs aren't free, but again - it might be worth it...

    Hope these ideas help,

    Bardmistress

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    There are these things called neck-buddies you can get that you soak with water and then freeze. You then tie them so the frozen part is across the back of the neck (it stays bendable, so you could hide it under his collar). It won't drip water into his costume like ice cubes would.

    I've used them while working at a scene shop in 95+ temps. w/ no A/C. They won't stop the sweating, but they will delay it a bit. Have the actor take a very long cold shower ahead of time, too; it should lower his temperature for awhile. Sew cotton pads (not foam) into the costumes armpits to avoid rings

    Freezing the costume (especially the socks) and adding a handkerchief are also good suggestions.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    A small hand-held fan backstage. A bottle of water. I agree with the idea of altering the costume- WOOL?! At least the shirt underneath should be of a very breathable, light fabric. If there is more than one layer, like a vest, then it should only be a "dickey", no back. And lots of powder on the face. Incorporate a handkerchief into the character if possible.

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  • John16
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    You can't alter the dress at all?

    I think you should use pads under the arms so the shirt does not get soaked. But I think the best choice have the character wear the next best thing for the part, one that won't give him a heat stroke.

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  • 1 decade ago

    THat is natural way to cool down, you don't want this actor to pass out in the middle of the stage do you???

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Have botox injected into your armpits. It really works. Also Certain Dri Anti-Perspirant works really well. It treats excessive perspiration and reduces underarm wetness ..

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  • 3 years ago

    1

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  • Paul H
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Have him swallow an ice cold drink before hand, and I do mean ICE cold. Also, refrigerate the costume - pack it in ice and have him put it on at the very last second. Good luck.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Well, when he has a break or when other actors come on, let him run off to the back to get retouched up.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Botox?

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