alyAly is the Artistic Director for Wildclaw theatre company, and is heavily involved with each of the season’s productions. If the makeup for Motel 666 makes you sick or horrified then she’s done her job!

What is your favorite genre of horror?
I love a “meatlocker”….where folks are trapped or isolated and dealing with craziness.  The Thing, Alien, Cabin in the Woods, etc.

What was the first time you encountered horror in entertainment? Was it a book, a movie, a play or something else?
I saw Alien far too young and remember being VERY concerned about the cat.  Then I read the Shining when I was in middle school and that was terrifying and fantastic.  When I was 15, I got a job at the Dairy Queen and next door was a comic shop.  I started picking up Clive Barker comics and got mad excited about Hellraiser and Nightbreed.

What is the main challenge to designing makeup for a production in this genre? Have you done any horror before, or is this your first time? What is your favorite part about makeup for a horror piece?
People often expect movie levels of violence…but seeing it live on stage is a very different experience.  Subtlety can be your friend in the theatre. The suggestion of gore is often all that is needed.  As a makeup artist, I have a ton of fun doing horror and it calls upon so many skills as a designer. I get to sculpt, invent, get gross, and enjoy watching the actors giggle like crazy the first time they get to burst a  the drippy sticky blood pack on stage.  It is cathartic, visceral, and good fun.  That is what I love about good horror.  Is that catharsis…that moment when feeling scared or disgusted or weirded out…that moment reminds you to enjoy and cherish your life.  You leave the theatre energized, with your blood pumping and your mind racing.  It can take you to a dark place, make you look at your own darkness, and the ugliness in the world…but also makes you hold onto the beauty that much harder.

How have motels played a role in your life?
There was and still is an old seedy motel just outside of my Chicago suburb.  I have never been there but when you drive by it everyday for decades, you get to wondering about the people in there and their stories.  Motels are temporary and sometimes anonymous.  Motels are a resting point in a line of action.  You are trying to go somewhere or leave somewhere and you end up at a motel because you can go no further….your action is interrupted by physical or practical needs which are served by the motel. The motel is never the desired destination which makes it the perfect place for the unexpected to happen.

What is your favorite makeup design you have ever done for a WildClaw show?
The masks I sculpted and painted for the Deep Ones in Innsmouth were super cool.  you only saw them for a brief moment at the end but that is all that you needed.  I also really loved Kill Me.  I think it was a really integrated makeup and costume design for the four miseries (as we called them).

What is the thing that scares you the most?
I am fairly terrified of the ocean.  I can get it in eventually but it takes me awhile and a fair amount of hyperventilating. Boats too.  I can swim fine…it is the thought of what lies below. Sharks, icky things, eels, bitey things, sharks…grabby seaweed.  Since I had my baby, zombies are far more scary than before. I started having nightmares about taking care of the baby during a zombie apocalypse…like keeping him quiet so as not to drawer the attention of an undead horde.  Yeah…these are the things a WildClaw company member/new mother lies awake and ponders at night.


ONE WEEKEND LEFT! Motel 666 runs through June 28 – get tickets here! Performances will be held at the DCASE Storefront Theatre, 66 E. Randolph Street, with shows ThursdaySaturday at 7:30pm and closing Sunday at 2:00pm.