LEWISBURG - When Glen Gallik looks at his reflection just before he goes on stage in this year's Lewisburg Area High School spring musical, he doesn’t recognize who is looking back.
That’s after the two hours it takes to transform the Lewisburg Area High senior into “Shrek the Musical,” the green ogre and star of the musical that will be performed at 7:30 tonight, and at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturday.
“It’s really, really cool to look at yourself in the mirror and not even recognize who you are,” Gallik says. “No part of yourself is the same. It’s a different feeling.”
Gallik was the first student actor to enter a classroom next to Lewisburg High’s auditorium before Thursday night’s opening. It was 3:20 p.m., about four hours before the curtain was raised, and he took his place on a stool, ready for the change.
“A lot of the time when you put on makeup for a show you can tell it’s yourself underneath the mascara and the makeup,” he said. “For this show, it’s just a completely different person, and it’s been really weird adjusting to that, but also really fun.”
There’s no mirror in the classroom, so Gallik can’t watch the progress. What he can see, on a counter near him, are latex cowls — the “Shrek” headgear. Two of them, in case one rips during the hour it takes him to remove the costume. There’s also face paint, an airbrush, powder, extra noses, cups of glue and glue brushes.
All that makeup is “not uncomfortable,” Gallik says, “but it is a constant reminder that there is a big green face stuck to you.”
District parent Lisa Koss, the head of hair and makeup for the production, watched a 45-minute video more than 10 times to learn how to apply the prosthetics and makeup to change Gallik into an ogre.
Gallik is amazed at the talents of Koss.
“It is better than anything I imagined my costume to be,” he said. “It changes everything.”
The two-hour transformation takes patience — for her and for Gallik, Koss said.
Once in character, Gallik cannot eat and can drink only through a straw — which could prove quite the challenge on Saturday, when the cast will perform the show twice. He will not remove the makeup once it is applied that day and will have to be “Shrek” for almost 14 hours.
The mask and makeup was a first for Koss, who thought there was “a big responsibility to do it right” but that it also “gets easier every time.”
Koss has attached the prosthetics only five times before Thursday night’s opening performance. The procedure includes painting the cowl neck and head piece with ears, then face mask, which is later glued onto the cowl. After the cowl and accessories are glued to Gallik’s face, green makeup is applied to any visible skin.
Then the fake eyebrows are placed.
At first Gallik was worried that he “wouldn’t be able to move his face and reflect it with the mask.”
But, Koss said, the eyes carry much of his emotion.