Chrissie Hammond has been playing Grizabella, "the glamour cat", for a year now - a role she describes as "passionate and dramatic, just like me." Chrissie applies her own make-up - did she have lessons? She laughs at the suggestion: "When you join the company, Karen, the make-up artist, does half your face and you copy what she's done on the other half. They take a Polaroid of your face for you to use as a guideline - and then you're on your own."
The make-up takes an hour for each performance, sometimes twice a day. Does it ever get boring? "Never. I quite look forward to it. It's very ritualistic for me, a nice "chill" time. I settle down and focus on the performance ahead. I've also noticed that if I make a mess of applying my make-up, I tend to mess up my lines, too!"
Does Grizabella look the same all over the world? "The face of Grizabella has changed dramatically since the show started, but it's a standard look now. That said, the brushes can only follow the contours of the face, so each one will look slightly different."
Some actors avoid make-up when not performing - "Not me, I always wear it, though not a lot. But a funny thing happened a few weeks ago: I was getting ready to go out with my partner, who was getting impatient, pushing me to hurry up. In my haste, I started to draw a little black nose on my face - I really do think he would have let me go out like that, if I hadn't realised what I was doing."
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Source: December 2000 Cats programme.